Memphis Grizzlies Rumors
As the clock runs out this week on Tennessee’s infamous “jock tax,” the city of Memphis is about to turn over $2.38 million to more than 900 professional basketball players as part of a 2015 settlement. The city will return its portion of the money — a third of the $7.27 million it’s collected since Tennessee’s professional privilege tax was approved in 2009 — within the next three or four weeks, said Brian Collins, the city’s chief financial officer. “(The money) was reserved a long time ago, and it won’t have an impact on the city’s budget this year or any year,” Collins said. The city set the funds aside in fiscal year 2015.
The flat tax of $2,500 per game up to $7,500 for NBA and NHL players was widely criticized for eating up most — and in some cases all — of the income lower-paid athletes received from basketball games in Memphis and hockey games in Nashville. Gary Kohlman, general counsel for the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), which sued the state over the tax, said “dozens” of players earning the legal minimum paid more in the tax than they earned from the games. “That was not an isolated event,” he said.
The city’s portion of proceeds of the NBA tax ranged from $1.1 million up to $2.1 million annually in years the tax was fully implemented, and went toward attracting and marketing events at FedExForum. The Memphis Grizzlies declined to comment. The payments end the controversy in Tennessee, but Kohlman said other states have tried similar taxes, including Ohio, home to the Cleveland Cavaliers and its star player LeBron James. Kohlman said the NBPA is filing refund requests now, and could sue Ohio if the requests are denied.
Memphis Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace today named David Fizdale as the team’s new head coach.
Memphis Grizzlies Head Coach, David Fizdale: “I am extremely excited to be in Memphis and really looking forward to building a legacy with this talented group of players. In my career, I have been fortunate to have worked with some of the greatest coaches and players in the NBA and am ready for this challenge. I am not only here to contribute to an organization that has built a history of winning, I am here to win it all and bring the wonderful people of Memphis their first Championship Parade down Beale Street. I am truly honored that Robert Pera, Chris Wallace and the organization felt that I am the right man to lead us forward and I would like to thank them for their confidence and this great opportunity.”
Memphis Grizzlies General Manager, Chris Wallace: “We are pleased to welcome David to Memphis. After a comprehensive search process, and talking with a number of very bright basketball minds, we focused in on David and we are confident that he is the right person for the job. David’s achievements throughout his career, his reputation as a strong tactician, his leadership with player development, and his ability to communicate and build strong relationships with his players make him the clear choice to guide the Grizzlies on and off the court, as we move forward and collectively build on the consistent success we have attained over the last several years.”