HoopsHype Spencer Haywood rumors

April 7, 2014 Updates
April 4, 2014 Updates

Nine years after he won a groundbreaking case against the league that paved the way for players to enter directly from high school, his drug addiction led to his removal from the Los Angeles Lakers' championship team in 1980 during the darkest of periods for him and so many others. "I was in there in the beginning and Commissioner (David) Stern came in and he needed a poster boy for the drugs that had permeated the NBA in my time, and I was it," Haywood told USA TODAY Sports. USA Today Sports

More than three decades later, he's championing a very different cause: He wants to help undo the current one-and-done rule that he had so much to do with causing in the first place. "Now (new) Commissioner (Adam) Silver is coming in, and he needs a guy maybe to solidify the one-and-done fiasco," Haywood says with a laugh. "Guess who?" Haywood is who. USA Today Sports

"I was all right when I saw Kobe (Bryant), and Kevin Garnett and those guys come in (straight out of high school)," said Haywood, who juggles his time between running his construction company, feeding his part-time jazz musician habit and taking pride in four adult daughters. "I was kind of skeptical, saying, 'Ah, this Haywood rule is being taken a little out of context here.' But when (the 2001 NBA draft) had DeSagana Diop, Kwame Brown, Eddy Curry, Tyson Chandler ... there were five of them who came out (of high school), and not one of them made it. "I mean how can the league keep taking these kinds of hits, where out of your top five picks not one of them made it? Now Tyson Chandler caught fire and hit later, you know? But the rest of those guys didn't make it in the NBA (as high-level players)." USA Today Sports

April 3, 2014 Updates

The NBA doesn’t have a Hall of Fame, leaving the duty of honoring its all-time greats to the Basketball Hall of Fame – an organization hung up on honoring players and coaches (way too many coaches) based on accomplishments at lesser levels. Its processes are both screwed up and secretive (though maybe the former will get marginally better). Advice: Never predict who will be enshrined, and don’t dwell on who should be enshrined. It doesn’t make sense and won’t make sense. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take a few moments to honor those elected in what’s still a huge honor. Five former NBA players were finalists this year, and two were reportedly elected. In: Alonzo Mourning Mitch Richmond Out: Tim Hardaway Kevin Johnson Spencer Haywood NBCSports.com

April 2, 2014 Updates
March 15, 2014 Updates

In 1988, Haywood, with writer Scott Ostler, revealed in People magazine that he'd considered killing Lakers coach Paul Westhead, who had suspended Haywood indefinitely after Game 3 of the 1980 NBA Finals. Haywood had gotten into a shouting match with teammates Brad Holland and Jim Chones after the game. As a result of his suspension, he explained in People, "I turned all my anger toward Westhead," who had taken over as interim coach after Jack McKinney was nearly killed in a bike accident. Haywood goes on to write: "I left the Forum and drove off in my Rolls that night thinking one thought—that Westhead must die. I drove through the streets plotting the man's murder. In the heat of anger and the daze of coke, I phoned an old friend of mine in Detroit, a guy named Gregory, a genuine certified gangster. I said, ''C'mon out here, buddy. I got someone I want you to take care of.' He said, 'No problem, Wood. Love to do that for you.' The next day Greg and his partner flew to L.A., ready to go to work. We sat down and figured it out. Westhead lived in Palos Verdes, and we got his street address. We would sabotage his car, mess with his brake lining." Deadspin.com

I mean, there was a thought about this. It was not a plot per se that you went and sat outside his house waiting for him to come out. They're more like, you know, "Spike his drink" or "Spike his car" or something. We did drive down to Palos Verdes and we looked around, and when I came back I got high. My mother called and she said, "Hey boy, what the hell are you up to?" And my paranoia, as I was explaining before about the drug, is that everybody knew what I was doing, including my mother. So what was going in my mind was unholy, ungodly and not clear at all, so I knew my mother was onto it. When I got back, I did some more coke, and that's when I hit rock bottom, when I realized what the hell I was thinking about. It wasn't an act. I didn't attempt to do anything. But it was an evil intent. I know my God is watching me at this time. And I really went off my rocker. Deadspin.com

And then when I got to Italy I was like, "What the hell am I doing over here?" I'm going over here to a foreign country and, you know, "What the hell?" I flew into Venice, and the Venice airport is on the mainland, and the city is out in the ocean, so it was like, "Shit." I have seen redemption in my life. I mean, I've experienced it. I was walking the path. I know about God. But it was just leaving that baggage, leaving your luggage alone. You know, you're dropping your bags right there and saying, "Hey, I know what I need to do. I know who's waiting for me." Through the Lakers, through Jerry Buss, through Bill Sharman, God intervened and sent me off to Italy in order for me to get my sanity. Italy was the best thing that ever happened to me. Deadspin.com

New York was where I met my first wife, Iman. We had a good time. In New York I expanded upon my horizons and I saw a lot of live artists. I saw the plays. I mean, it was so culturally enriching, and I read so much there. My first baby was born at Lenox Hill Hospital. All these wonderful things, you know. New York and Seattle was like a very fruitful period for me, with fruitful growth. We go through Seattle. We go through the Knicks. And when I got to Los Angeles … I fell. I wanted to be in charge. You know, God's path was boring. I didn't do nothing. I was just playing basketball and eating right, doing the right thing. I wanted to see what the devil was like. The whole thing started off wrong. Deadspin.com

You know, cocaine is a very fast, demonic ... I mean, I was always uncomfortable. I was always very uncomfortable with the idea, because I was paranoid. And paranoia is like an uncomfortableness. It was like just the weirdest thing. I mean, I never was like ... if I took a puff of coke ... I mean, it would be like, all of a sudden I'm paranoid. I'm looking for somebody coming out of a light bulb. I'm crawling on the floor looking around for other coke and shit. It was just never ... whatever people felt, I didn't feel it. But after the first time I did it, I wanted to do it the second time. And after I did it the second time I wanted to do it the third time. So basically I was hooked on the devil's juice. It was hard. It was not like a passing fancy. It was really hard. And I was running with some hard people who didn't know any better either. You know I was listening to rock music in 1980? There ain't nothing wrong with rock, but I had been a jazz man all my life, so what was I doing? I'm talking about the Doors, like "This is the end." I loved that song. "This is the end, my friend." I'm like, What the hell? Deadspin.com

February 15, 2014 Updates

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson on being named a finalist for the 2014 Basketball Hall of Fame: Via official statement from his office: “It is a tremendous honor to be chosen as a finalist for the Hall of Fame and I am sincerely humbled. It is especially gratifying to be recognized by the Committee for all of the hard work and effort we all put into the game. To be considered along with three great peers of mine, Tim (Hardaway), (Alonzo Mourning, and (Mitch Richmond), as well as (Spencer Haywood), is icing on the cake,” said Johnson. Sulia

May 13, 2013 Updates

A memo obtained by NBA.com details a potential framework for legal action, citing the Sherman Act's prohibition against group boycotts. In this instance, the (unauthored) memo argues, the league would be vulnerable to a lawsuit by the Hansen group based on the Haywood case won by Spencer Haywood against the league in 1971. That case allowed Haywood to sign a contract to play in the NBA despite not having graduated from college, the existing rule at the time for eligibility. Haywood successfully argued that financial hardship necessitated him coming into the league immediately. NBA.com

The memo's author argues that Hansen could successfully sue the NBA because if owners vote to reject the sale of the team to him, they would be engaging in a similar group boycott that the Supreme Court ruled was illegal in the Haywood case. But all that may, literally, be an academic exercise. A source directly involved with Hansen's pursuit of the team reiterated Friday that Hansen is not looking at potential litigation as a means for getting the Kings. "It's not part of anything that our group is contemplating," the source said. NBA.com

April 11, 2013 Updates

Haywood's exclusion for another year looks even more assailable when his groundbreaker past and superior playing accomplishments are cast against the Hall's non-transparent selection process, one of the most secretive in American sports. Neither the voters nor even vote totals are announced. "Is it a mystery? A conspiracy? Ahh, I don't know," the 63-year-old Haywood said Tuesday, shortly after his flight from Atlanta touched down in his current hometown of Las Vegas. "I've been told not to talk to the press or anything, it will mess up my future Hall of Fame chances, blah, blah, blah. But I don't believe in muzzling myself … I'm just tired of being the person that fights battles." Laughing a little resignedly, he added, "I just want to be like a hippie in the Sixties now. Peace and love." ESPN.com

So how could there still be confusion on Haywood's part by Friday when he should've gotten the bad news Wednesday? "Ask him," says Ross. "I don't know -- I can't be a private eye, running my mouth or running around, trying to figure out what happened," Haywood says. "I don't think the Hall needs banged on the head anymore … For a while last week, I was on top of the world, and the next day my pockets were dragging on the ground. It was embarrassing. Then I ran into Gary Payton and some of the guys at Friedman's Shoes in Atlanta [a longtime destination for basketball players], and I felt that all this controversy took something away from their journey. I felt like a heel in a way, you know?" ESPN.com

"John Doleva and I spoke a little after it was all said and done, and he was consoling me pretty good," Haywood says. "It will happen. I have faith in the Hall that they will do the right thing. I really do. It's just that …" Just that what? "When they say 'You gotta wait, you gotta wait' -- hell, I have waited. Since 1988," Haywood says. "And the pain is a mother. I don't want to give anyone an excuse to say, 'Hey, let's really [work] him over now.' But how long do I wait? How long?" ESPN.com

April 7, 2013 Updates

Spencer Haywood will not be announced Monday as having been elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame, despite his former agent having told FOX Sports Florida on Friday he would be. Al Ross, who was Haywood’s agent in the early 1970s when he sued and won the right through the Supreme Court to enter the NBA as an underclassman, had said Friday that Haywood had told him he had been called and told he had made the Hall of Fame. However, Ross sent this email Saturday afternoon to FOX Sports Florida: “I just heard from Spencer that he has not been selected to the HOF after the NBA office contacted him to say that he was chosen,’’ Ross wrote about Haywood, who is a finalist for election. “This is a travesty, disgraceful and despicable. Whomever did not vote for him should be ashamed of themselves and be thrown off the committee. If Spencer asks me to follow up on his behalf I will get to every television and news media in the country and I will personally chastise the committee and it's (sic) members.’’ FOXSports Florida

Several generations of players owe thanks to Haywood for his courage to take on the NBA and pave the way for them to become multimillionaires earlier than they would have been entitled. But that courage has come with a price. Curt Flood, who had fought baseball for the right to play where he wanted to, told Haywood his life would be hell for doing what he did. Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, heard the case and told Haywood afterward that he would be ostracized. They may have been right. Haywood compiled a Hall of Fame-worthy resume during 14 NBA seasons — he averaged 20.3 points and 10.3 rebounds, was a two-time All-NBA first-team selection and a four-time NBA All-Star and won an NBA title in 1980. He also won an Olympic gold medal in 1968. Yet, he still has not taken the call from the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. “I’m still suffering,” said Haywood, who lives in Las Vegas and owns a construction business. “If you look at all the things I did on the court, I would have been in a long time ago. But the (Supreme) court fight is the reason I’m not in. But I believe this is going to be my time.” Las Vegas Review Journal

Haywood, 63, is one of 12 finalists, among them former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian and fellow Las Vegas resident and former NBA star guard Gary Payton. Speaking at the Discovery Children’s Museum, where his company installed the flooring and tiles in the bathrooms, Haywood talked candidly about his life — a life that was never about taking the safe route. “It was that kind of time in American sports,” said Haywood, referring to the early 1970s, during which Flood challenged baseball’s reserve clause and boxing great Muhammad Ali fought for his right to refuse induction into the U.S. Army and not have to fight in Vietnam. “Here’s the thing — I wasn’t looking for trouble. I just wanted to earn a living playing basketball. So when Seattle signed me (in 1970), and the NBA said I couldn’t play, I was angry. I couldn’t provide for my family. So I did what I had to do.” Las Vegas Review Journal

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