MSU’s Leaders at WR Are…

Heading into the 2013 season, MSU is searching for who is going to step up as leaders at WR with the graduation of 5 seniors. The Bulldogs also lost their top 4 pass catchers from 2012. One sure thing is that there is a lot of catches up for grabs this year (no pun intended). With all these reps and catches available for whoever can step up, it was apparent in the spring which 2 guys were making the biggest splash: Jameon Lewis and Robert Johnson.

Fast forward to yesterday. Both guys were going through workouts that weren’t team required. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess these 2 guys mind sets. They know the opportunity in front of them and they aren’t taking it lightly. It looks as if they are taking leadership roles on and off the field. It appears that the spring was an indication of what’s to come and that’s big years from Rojo and Jameon.

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Geno Smith Choses Rapper Agent

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Geno fires his agent and does the most cool, pop culture move ever hiring rapper Jay-Z’s agency. While rap moguls are great businessmen, I don’t think entering into sports contracts, which is a legal minefield, is a good idea. With all the respected, veteran agents out there like Mississippi’s Bus Cook, I see no reason to go with an unproven commodity.

Somewhere Ricky Williams shed a single tear when he heard about this. Many remember his first contract with the Saints negotiated by rapper Master P as one of the worst contracts in NFL history.

Seven years, $68 million potential value, $8.8 million guaranteed
With rapper Master P serving as his agent, Williams signed a historically dubious contract with the Saints, even though New Orleans had little leverage, having just traded its entire draft to Washington for the chance to select Williams No. 5 overall. The deal called for Williams to earn the minimum base salary each year of the contract, and it was heavily weighted on incentives which were difficult to achieve. Williams earned $3.8 million his rookie season. Conversely, Edgerrin James, who was selected one pick before Williams, earned $14.8 million as a rookie. The Saints also were allowed to exercise an option for an eighth season at no cost simply by sending a letter of intent. The man who was the subject of our favorite Brent Musberger call deserved better.”

Here is Dennis Waszak’s story.

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Geno Smith has joined Jay-Z for one big sports and hip-hop collaboration.

The New York Jets rookie quarterback has chosen the rap artist’s new Roc Nation Sports to represent him. Smith, who slipped out of the first round last month and fell to the Jets in the second round at No. 39 overall, fired his agents – Select Sports – shortly after the NFL draft.

The former West Virginia star met with a handful of agents before announcing Wednesday that he had chosen Jay-Z’s agency, which is partnered with Creative Artists Agency. Smith insisted after practice that Jay-Z didn’t play ”that big of a role” in his final decision – although the quarterback recently tweeted a photo of him with the hip-hop star.

”I think it’s just his agency,” Smith said. ”When you talk about being in New York from a standpoint of what they can do in the city, the connections that they have, I think it’s a good move. My mother and my family were comfortable with it, and I’m comfortable with it. I’m just going to move on from there. It’s not going to be a big deal.

”I’ll just remain humble and keep focusing on football.”

Kimberly Miale, recently hired by Jay-Z, whose given name is Shawn Carter, will serve as Smith’s contract agent. Smith will be Miale’s first NFL client.

Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano and former Notre Dame star Skylar Diggins, drafted No. 3 overall by the WNBA’s Tulsa Shock, have also recently signed with Roc Nation.

Smith, who is competing with Mark Sanchez among others for the team’s starting job, said the decision to go with Jay-Z is not an indication that he’s focused on his image and marketing opportunities – as speculated by some.

”It’s not that important to me, honestly,” Smith said. ”The only thing that’s important to me is the image that’s perceived around this locker room, the guy I am to my teammates, to my coaches and the work I put in on the football field. I’m all about football.

”I’m all about getting better.”

Jets coach Rex Ryan also brushed off any thoughts that he and the organization might have some concern about a second-round pick signing with perhaps the biggest rap star in the world.

”I don’t worry about it, no, I don’t,” Ryan said. ”This is the young man’s decision, and I’m sure he’s done a lot of work and preparation on hiring who he thinks is the best person to represent him. I don’t think there’s going to be a loss of focus or anything else. I can tell you this right now: He knows that he has to focus on the job at hand here and I’m confident that’ll happen.

”I don’t even think about who he hired.”

Smith is not the first NFL player to sign with a hip-hop mogul. New Orleans Saints running back Ricky Williams hired rapper Master P’s No Limit Sports agency to negotiate his rookie deal, which is largely regarded as one of the game’s worst contracts because it included a minimum base salary and incentives that were difficult to reach. Williams later fired the agency and hired Leigh

Kenny Powers Plays College Baseball Right Now?

Kenny Powers’ long-lost twin brother plays for Florida State baseball

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Is that Kenny Powers suiting up for the Florida State Seminoles baseball team? We’d like to think so, but it’s actually first-team All-ACC pitcher Scott Sitz.

Not only does “Lunchbox” have a rocking mustache, but he also has a rocket arm. Sitz will be leading the Noles into the postseason tournament on the back of his 9-1 record and 1.66 ERA (via CollegeSplits.com).

If this quote from teammate Luke Weaver is any indication, we just may have the real life version of Kenny Powers on our hands (via NolesSports.com):

“He’s the life of this team. He’s fun to be around. He’s a funny guy. He’s always got something to say. And the stuff that comes out of his mouth is not the typical words that people say.”

Mississippi State’s “freaks” for Mullen, Balis

Great work by Bob. Take a look at MSU’s “freaks”.

HailStateBEAT

Every year around this time, Bruce Feldman from CBS Sports comes out with one of my favorite offseason stories: his “freaks list” highlighting college football’s most impressive physical specimens by various measurements.

Inspired by his list, as well as his inclusion of Mississippi State linebacker Benardrick McKinney, I asked around about some other “freaks” Dan Mullen and Matt Balis might have on their team.

A special thank you to media relations man Kyle Niblett for helping acquire the information. Dude never sleeps. Just works and gives fist bumps.

DDFHVPMVXWQEEFR.20101209200948I’ll start off where Feldman did.

Benardrick McKinney, sophomore middle linebacker, 6’5″, 240 pounds

The K.J. Wright look-a-like, McKinney weighed a wiry 216 pounds when he got to campus, but is now up to 240 with only 9.5% body fat. Two of his most impressive numbers: McKinney has a 41.5 inch vertical jump (higher than nearly every player at the 2013 NFL…

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Dillon Day Named to Rimington Watch List

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Great news for Day and Mississippi State as he is named to the Rimington watch list. After watching so many spring practices, this announcement is justification by national media of what MSU fans already knew. Day really asserted himself as a leader and was showing more development after a good sophomore season in 2012. I’ve ran into/met Dillion a few times over my years in Starkville and you will not meet a more humble, nicer guy who is a better representative of MSU. Congrats to Dillion Day getting recognized for his hard work. Here is the release from the rimingtontrophy.com:

May 20, 2013 – The Rimington Trophy committee has released its 2013 Spring Watch List. The list includes 17 returning players from the 2012 Watch List. In all, there are 44 players on the Watch List. The SEC leads the way with nine players, while the PAC-12 and Mountain West Conference check in with five candidates each.

The following is a list of those named to the 2013 Rimington Trophy Spring Watch List.

David Andrews Georgia 6’2″ 295 Junior
Russell Bodine North Carolina 6’4″ 310 Junior
Evan Boehm Missouri 6’3″; 315 Sophomore
Jake Brendel UCLA 6’5″ 276 RS Sophomore
Betim Bujari Rutgers 6’4″ 290 Junior
Ben Clarke Hawaii 6’3″ 275 Sophomore
Sean Conway Western Kentucky 6’3″ 305 Senior
Dillon Day Mississippi State 6’4″ 295 RS Junior
Reese Dismukes Auburn 6’3″; 290 Junior
Dominic Espinosa Texas 6’4″ 300 Junior
Dillon Farrell New Mexico 6’5″ 292 Senior
Jay Finch Georgia Tech 6’3″ 285 Senior
B.J. Finney Kansas State 6’4″ 303 Junior
Matt Galas Nevada 6’1″ 280 Junior
Bryce Giddens Arkansas State 6’0″ 225 Sophomore
Hroniss Grasu Oregon 6’3″ 297 Junior
Gus Handler Colorado 6’3″ 290 Senior
Jonotthan Harrison Florida 6’4″ 299 RS Junior
Andre Huval Louisiana-Lafayette 6’1″ 290 Senior
Gabe Ikard Oklahoma 6’3″ 298 RS Senior
Travis Jackson Michigan State 6’3″ 280 Junior
David Kekuewa Bowling Green 6’2″ 308 Junior
Ryan Kelly Alabama 6’5″ 290 RS Sophomore
Zac Kerin Toledo 6’5″ 300 Senior
Kody Koebensky Arizona State 6’3″ 290 Senior
Tyler Larsen Utah State 6’4″ 312 Senior
Taylor Lasecki SMU 6’3″ 288 Sophomore
Corey Linsley Ohio State 6’3″ 297 Junior
Macky MacPherson Syracuse 6’2″ 280 Senior
Mike Marboe Idaho 6’2″ 301 Junior
Shane McDermott Miami 6’4″ 296 Junior
Cole Pensick Nebraska 6’2″ 275 Senior
Ryan Powis Army 6’0″ 248 Junior
Bryce Redman Houston 6’1″ 285 Junior
Austin Reiter USF 6’3″ 273 RS Junior
Weston Richburg Colorado State 6’4″ 297 RS Senior
Isaac Seumalo Oregon State 6’3″ 302 RS Senior
James Stone Tennessee 6’3″ 300 Senior
Bryan Stork Florida State 6’4″ 312 RS Senior
Travis Swanson Arkansas 6’5″ 305 Senior
Evan Swindall Mississippi 6’4″ 295 Senior
Valerian Ume-Ezeoke New Mexico State 6’2″ 285 Junior
Brandon Vitabile Northwestern 6’3″ 300 RS Junior
Robert Waterman UNLV 6’2″ 290 Junior

While more than a dozen All-America football teams are selected annually, the Rimington Trophy committee uses these four prestigious teams to determine a winner:

* American Football Coaches Association

* Walter Camp Foundation

* Sporting News

* Football Writers Association of America
Because the selectors of these four All-America teams can place Centers in a “mix” of offensive linemen that includes guards and tackles, their 11-man first teams can often have two Centers. Our policy is to count all players that play primarily the Center position for their respective teams as Centers, even though they maybe listed as guards or tackles on the four All American teams.

The Center with the most first team votes will be determined the winner. If there is a tie with first team votes, then the Center with most second team votes will win. If there is still a tie, the winner will be determined by the Rimington Trophy committee.

The winner will be honored at Rimington Trophy Presentation banquet at the Rococo Theater in Lincoln, Nebraska on January 11, 2014.

Some Insanity From Ole Miss Message Boards

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Don’t get me wrong, every single fanbase has their crazies on the message boards. I read a ton of different teams boards, pay and free, and have a good feel for most fanbases nuances. I will go on record that Ole Miss pay boards have the strangest collection of grown men who act like 3 year olds I have ever seen. Pre-school joke after pre-school joke and the masses lap it up. There is also this borderline insane element. I won’t name names but recently a banker in the delta was sent to federal prison for blatant stealing. He announced his going to prison on the board and 100+ responses of “prayers sent” and request for his prison address so he could receive “rebel updates”. It defies rational thinking.

That brings us to today’s nonsense I stumbled across. A poster by the name of “DickieVegas” lays out a plot where a law firm has proposed a plan to pay for Ole Miss fans to troll MSU fans full time. They want folks to troll all message boards, twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Clarion Ledger comment sections, and more. They say they will pay for all the access to the boards and pay for these services and updates. It’s funny how pathetic this is. Below is his post in its entirety and and equally insane follow up post. They are completely obsessed and the last paragraph I bolded shows that they are psychotic.

“This post will be short and to the point. By “short and to the point” I actually mean “long and confusing”. Some might even say pointless. If that’s not your thing, I encourage you to stop reading now. If you continue you may wonder ‘how bored (or stupid perhaps) I must be to make a post like this. If you have ever attended a two day, 36 hour girls fast-pitch softball tournament…with several hours between games…sitting outside w/no internet…you will have your answer. This is pretty much my best entertainment option at the moment. (Note-For this post, the term “troll” is used to describe anyone who tries to aggravate someone from a rival school.)

On to the Business of Trolling…I’ve got a buddy who is passionate about ‘trolling’ all things Mississippi State. Whether it’s Twitter, C-L Comment Sections, Youtube, Pay Sites, whatever…he will use any/all forms of interweb communication to aggravate Bulldogs and laugh at their expense. But he has a ‘problem’. He recently made partner at his law firm so his workload has increased. He also has a wife and young daughter. As a result, he is unable to spend as much time as he’d like (fulfilling his obligation as a die-hard Rebel) harassing State fans so he called me to discuss a solution to his situation.

He asked if I’d be interested in doing some Troll work on his behalf. He offered to pay a monthly fee, cover all membership/subscription costs, and even suggested he’s open to bonuses for “the really good stuff.” In return, I would perform various trolling activities. I told him the offer was extremely tempting, but it just wasn’t feasible due to the time commitment necessary to do it right…unless I had a few more ‘clients/contracts.’

Neither of us were serious (or I wasn’t at least). A few days later he called and said “if you can send an update/report covering the highlights of the week’s trolling activities I’ve got a couple of guys at my firm who would pay for access.” At this point, it was obvious that he was only half-joking, or possibly even completely serious. When I told him I knew very little about troll consulting/contracting”, he asked “why not? I thought you’ve done a lot of online strategy consulting.” I asked him if it was even legal and he said, “Probably so. Need to find that out though from an attorney.” I just laughed and said I will perform the proper due diligence on everything we discussed (and by due diligence I mean drinking pretty heavily and talking about it with a few equally intoxicated, State-hating, Ole Miss loving friends).

After some intense debate, we came to the following conclusion. This idea was…Brilliant! We all agreed we would pay someone to antagonize State fans on the web, especially if they were good. We decided this was quite possibly the best idea since http://www.BetOnTheWeather.com (You probably haven’t heard of this but it would’ve revolutionized the gambling industry if not for some damn government regulations and a slight lack of funding-I still say there is no way anyone would’ve hit the Billion-dollar 50 state annual snowfall parlay to the inch…so we really didn’t need that much payout cash). Besides, I’ve done a lot worse things for a paycheck than spending a few hours on the internet making fun of State.

After an afternoon on the Reservoir (and several Coronas along with a couple of reddish orange, semi-iced rum fruit drinks) I came to the conclusion that not only was I in, I was going to turn the (non-existent) professional trolling industry upside down. I would assemble a diverse team of all-star talent and utilize their unique strengths to create the ultimate troll. Instead of one sad sack taking on a dozen posters, we would use a dozen posters to troll one idiot . No more obvious troll is obvious. No more rookie-ass posting during free trial periods. No more of “the one-man army of old and annoying” approach to antagonize the hell out of folks they”ve never even met-over and over and over. Definitely no poser trollers like cbuck.

Much like Freeze is doing with the Rebel football team, we will implement an uptempo, full internet spread system…a team-first approach with multiple individuals working together to accomplish one objective-making State fans/homer journalists/coaches online experience as miserable as possible due to constant embarrassment/anger thanks to our perfectly-timed, strategic attacks. I’m talking about getting rednecks so mad they will establish an actual meeting time/place to prove their internet badass-ness then we’ll send them a video of how stupid they looked with their shirt off outside of the Bass Pro parking lot in Pearl looking for that Ole Miss asshole in the white, 2012 F150.

It’s almost time to assemble the team. We’ll need spotters, lurkers, smart a$$es, nice guys, pot stirrers, peace promoters, the best GIF-ers, photoshop specialists, wordsmiths, historians/researchers/googlers, sunshine pumpers, grammer police, coach haters, poor spellers, homers, apologists, realists, optimists, pessimists, and a handful of people who actually know what they are talking about (if we have too many knowledgeable, informed, & rational posters we will be immediately exposed…remember, most of this will be done on sports message boards so dumb is better). Oh, a few attorneys are a must. Maybe more than a few. One more thing, anyone with even one day of Mod experience is not eligible. Real trolls don’t email Mods unless you are trolling them of course. That is encouraged. Otherwise, they are the enemy.

Lastly, we might consider operating as a non-profit and donating all profits (which could be as much as hundreds of dollars annually) either to Ole Miss Athletic Foundation or one of the various football, basketball or baseball fund-raising groups . And that is non-negotiable. If anyone even suggests contributing even one dollar to Academics you are out.

There are several Rebelgrovers I’d like to discuss their joining “Rent-A-Troll” in some capacity. Will start posting a list soon but a few targets are listed below. Also registered the following domains and Twitter accounts: “Troll Sharks,” “Troll-Mart,” and finally “MicroTroll”…

Some of possible 5-star Troll Team Prospects Include:
-BubbaCav (obvious reasons)
-Chance (shouldn’t need an explanation here either)
-WPMan (I know it’s not your style but with your skills and the right team you could be the Ultimate Troll)
-TexasRebel1987 (excellent w/one liners, skilled GIF-er, can spot dumb posts without even clicking on the thread)
-Colonel (Already showing solid troll potential but even brighter future due to desire, having a tremendous off-season)
-Grove (I’m guessing there might be a few Bulldog Reps. potential for high entertainment value)
-Bilbo (Info, legendary contributor, need at least one level-head, will have to forget Hog Hating, focus on Dog Hating)
-Chess(high-level wit; few Dogs will even get his jokes;ideal for trolling; has an MSU Alum ever won a State Chess Title? )
-Rebel Man (Lead fandom extremist trainer. If he can get trolls to defend all-things State with his same passion look out!)
-OM49/45 (youthful energy, both appear to be proven State Haters and committed posters).

Seriously, it’s not the WORST idea ever. Definitely not on this board. Now the post itself could be, but I blame the heat. Professional trolling services…that is the future of anonymous online/social media harassment ….”

Here is his follow up post:

“Thanks to all the early ‘commits.’ That’s already a pretty strong nucleus. Hopefully this will have a domino effect on others.
And I appreciate those who responded with nice comments.

Crw,

I like it. Some quantitative analysis would be awesome. (For example, is it better to have 7-8 different trolls rate every State thread a one star for an entire week, or should you just use 7-8 guys and have them give that one poster who actually takes his personal rating seriously and drop 7-8 one stars on every post he makes for that week?) Last sentence was top notch as well.

As far as the cow bells, I think it’s time we put an end to the Janga-Langa-Janga-Langa. That dude getting hit in the head was on the right track. But one State fan and his single cowbell is not enough. That number needs to be in double digits, like a 5-on 5 melee with 10 bells being used as weapons. They don’t have to actually be State fans…as long as they look like them. Anybody get where I’m going with this? If so, I might know a guy…”

Hunter lawsuit proves NBA out for rich

I get that many people steer clear of Jason Whitlock for perceived controversial views. I read him regularly because he is a journalism super-talent. This article he wrote about the Hunter-Fischer lawsuit regarding the players union and lockout negotiations is awesome. No one is touching this topic but Whitlock nails it. Below I have the article but go ahead and give him a page visit if you read it http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/story/jason-whitlock-billy-hunter-lawsuit-against-derek-fisher-proves-nba-out-for-rich-051913

If you care about America and want to understand the times we live in, it would be a huge mistake to ignore the Billy Hunter-Derek Fisher war.

In it, particularly in the allegations leveled in Hunter’s lawsuit against Fisher and the NBA Players Association, you can clearly see how the rich protect their wealth by screwing the unsuspecting people beneath them.

It’s difficult for the working man or woman to think he/she has anything in common with a rank-and-file millionaire professional athlete. But in a labor dispute pitting a major corporation against union employees, a career union assembly line worker such as my mother has a lot in common with a nine-year NBA vet such as Nick Collison.

My mother, now retired except for seasonal work for tax-preparer H&R Block, has always been a proud member of the 99 percent. Despite working overtime at AT&T’s Western Electric and occasionally taking a second job, my mother never earned more than $62,000 annually during her 35-year work career. Collison has averaged about $4.5 million a season. He’s part of the NBA’s 99 percent. He was in the same draft as LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. Bron and ‘Melo represent the 1 percent; they have averaged about $11 million per season.

The NBA’s 99 percent and the league’s elite 1 percent had conflicting agendas during the labor dispute.

In his lawsuit, Hunter contends that he was caught between the two different factions. He also alleges Derek Fisher was not. Hunter says that Fisher was at the end of his playing career and looking to parlay his union post into a management position within the NBA. Fisher would not be the first players’ union employee to do just that. Hunter also says that one of the league’s highest-paid players and his agent called him on Oct. 27, 2011, and informed Hunter that a labor deal had already been struck with ownership, and Hunter should sign off on it.

In his statement to the media on Thursday, Hunter claimed that Fisher and certain highly compensated players had a strong motivation to give into ownership’s desire to claw back the gains that Hunter had won in his self-described “successful” negotiations in 2005.

“Each game canceled during the lockout represented income that Fisher would never realize and would be unlikely to recover because his remaining playing career was limited,” Hunter’s lawsuit claims. “For similar reasons, some of the highest-compensated NBA players… and their agents shared Fisher’s sentiment that the lockout must end.”

Hunter, as I reported on Oct. 29, 2011, says he confronted Fisher regarding concerns that Fisher had weakened the union’s negotiating leverage by assuring representatives of ownership that the players would agree to a 50-50 split of basketball-related income. Under the previous labor agreement, the players received 57 percent of BRI.

According to all the experts, the NBA labor agreement struck in early 2012 squeezed the league’s middle class. Does that sound familiar? Does that not sound exactly like every labor deal struck in America the past 20 years? The difference in BRI will come out of Nick Collison’s compensation, not LeBron’s or Carmelo’s.

Now let’s dig deeper. Since Larry Bird and Magic Johnson reinvented the NBA and set the table for Michael Jordan to turn the league into a multi-billion-dollar economic force, let’s take a look at the transformation of the NBA Players Association.

Here are the names of the player presidents of the union from 1954 to 2001: Bob Cousy, Tom Heinsohn, Oscar Robertson, Paul Silas, Bob Lanier, Junior Bridgeman, Alex English, Isiah Thomas, Buck Williams and Patrick Ewing. This time frame is important because it covers the league’s fight for relevancy and traction and the union’s fight for fair compensation once Magic, Larry and Michael made the league highly relevant and ridiculously profitable. Every player president during this time frame except for Bridgeman was an exceptional, All-Star caliber performer. And Bridgeman was a really good player.

My point is as the league was on its way up and the players were clawing for authentic wealth, the NBA’s best players were intimately involved in union activities.

Here are the player presidents since 2001: Michael Curry, Antonio Davis and Derek Fisher. Here are the players who served on the NBPA executive committee during Billy Hunter’s last years as executive director: Derek Fisher, James Jones, Chris Paul, Matt Bonner, Keyon Dooling, Maurice Evans, Roger Mason, Etan Thomas and Theo Ratliff.

Hunter became executive director in 1996. He spent the overwhelming majority of his tenure working intimately with the NBA’s 99 percent. Once the superstar players financially feasted at the table set by Michael, Larry and Magic, the NBA’s 1 percent lost interest in union activities.

Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant walked straight out of high school into a league built on the backs of Larry, Michael, Magic, Isiah, Doctor J, Sir Charles, the Mailman, the Dream and Ewing. Garnett and Bryant together have earned in excess of $550 million in NBA salaries. Guys making that kind of coin don’t have time to bother themselves with union issues until there is a crisis.

I’ve been to the NBPA’s summer meetings in the Bahamas. It was attended by the 99 percent. Those are the players Hunter worked with and communicated with on a regular basis. Hunter’s perspective on union issues was shaped by the 99 percent. I don’t say that because I believe Hunter is some sort of righteous union leader. I say it because those were the players he most often engaged with on union activities.

So Hunter claims that one of the highest-compensated players and his agent called him on Oct. 27, 2011, and said a 50-50 BRI deal had been struck with ownership and Hunter should accept it.

I am not certain who that player is. I have been told by two different sources it was Kobe Bryant. Bryant and Fisher share the same agent — Rob Pelinka. Bryant and Fisher are close friends; they joined the Lakers the same year. Bryant was the NBA’s highest-paid player in 2011-12, earning $25 million. Bryant spent part of the 2011 offseason in Germany receiving experimental treatment for his arthritic knee. Given his salary, advancing age, health concerns and legendary competitive zeal, no NBA player had more reason to be desperate for an end to the lockout than Bryant.

On Friday, I made several attempts to speak with Pelinka. We’ve known each other for 20 years. He was a role player on the Michigan “Fab Five” basketball teams that I covered for the Ann Arbor News. We also occasionally run into each other in Los Angeles. I left a message at his office. I left a voicemail on his cell phone. I wrote him a detailed email explaining why I was contacting him. I also sent him a text message that my iPhone confirmed that he read. Pelinka did not respond to my inquiries.

Whether it was Bryant, Garnett or some other highly compensated veteran player who contacted Hunter on Oct. 27, 2011, doesn’t really matter. (Although a court case and Hunter’s phone records will eventually reveal the callers.) The point is that during the lockout, Hunter was caught between the NBA’s elite and the rank-and-file players who actually worked in the union.

Fisher could argue he was caught in the same spot. He has never been an NBA elite. He’s played the same number of seasons as Bryant and earned one-fourth of Bryant’s nearly $250 million.

But the problem with being represented by a marginal player at the end of his career is that the player will be tempted to position himself for his next career. That is not written to cast Fisher as evil. It’s written to convey he’s human, which means he’s flawed, which means he’s vulnerable to the same temptations many players believe seduced Michael Curry when he was player president during a labor dispute.

IF THE SUIT FITS…
Billy Hunter’s lawsuit may expose Derek Fisher as a back-stabber, Jason Whitlock says.
Re-examine Fisher’s actions during the lockout. In the summer of 2011, before I reported the major rift between Fisher and Hunter, Fisher and his flunky, Jamie Wior, made numerous public moves that undermined Hunter’s position as chief union negotiator. I wrote about it at the time.

Much of the alleged “reporting” and analysis on the NBA lockout, the Fisher-Hunter feud and the so-called investigation into Hunter’s business practices lacked balance, fairness, sophistication and nuance. It was all dumbed down to good guys vs. bad guys. This is because David Stern and a handful of power agents control the NBA media.

Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski is terrific. I read him. But you can’t break every NBA signing story without doing the bidding of the power agents. Media outlets are so clicks-driven that they believe breaking news about inconsequential free-agent signings is far more important than providing legitimate insightful perspective.

That’s why there’s so much collective silence surrounding Hunter’s fascinating, look-behind-the-curtain lawsuit. Most of the NBA media (CBS’s Ken Berger is a rare exception) apparently haven’t been given permission by their “sources” to write about Hunter’s lawsuit. Most outlets used the AP story and the playoffs as an excuse to avoid the topic.

It’s the okeydoke. The fourth estate is supposed to represent your interest, the workingman’s interest. Most often, when it really matters, we represent corporate interest.

Look at what’s happening in our country right now. The market is going gangbusters. Our economic recovery is blowing away Europe’s. The middle class is not participating in the recovery. The people getting rich aren’t hiring new employees at decent wages. The major media outlets can’t discuss this in an attention-grabbing way. We have to get to the bottom of the Benghazi talking points and the IRS scrutinizing groups who think their taxes are too high. Meanwhile, the Obama administration and its Wall Street friends continue to stuff their wallets off the recovery sparked by the taxpayer-funded bailouts.

It’s the okeydoke.

The NBA power agents wanted Hunter removed and they want a puppet installed. Stern needed to swipe 7 percent of basketball-related income from the union without pissing off the superstar players who drive TV ratings.

Squeeze the middle class, bury their mouthpiece (Hunter) and spoon-feed key media an easily digested, harmless narrative. Works every time.

I know this column sounds sympathetic to Hunter. That’s not the intent. Hunter failed as a leader. I wrote in 2011 that he appeared too old, too tired and too disinterested to do the work necessary to engage and inspire his constituents and put Fisher in his place. Union politics are dirty and vicious. They’re a young man’s game. Hunter’s attitude and work ethic mirrored Kobe’s, Garnett’s and all the other fat and happy superstars. Hunter was highly compensated and relatively content. He planned on raking in another $10 million, packing up his office and family and retiring from the union in three or four years.

Like every king or union boss who overstays his hold on the people and works in an environment at peace with betrayal, Hunter surrounded himself with people he could trust — family.

Hunter’s actions and Fisher’s all make sense. It’s my belief they would’ve behaved more appropriately had the media functioned in a fair manner. The 99 percent would not get screwed as frequently and as devastatingly if the media were not such willing co-conspirators with the 1 percent.