In a phone conversation with PhillyVoice conducted Thursday afternoon, Fultz’s agent, Raymond Brothers, vehemently denied the allegation. “Markelle and the motorcycle, I saw the article that was sent, 100 percent not true,” said Brothers. “Quote me on that.”
The Sixers declined to offer a comment on the situation when contacted by PhillyVoice. A team source, who says contact was made between Brothers, Fultz’s mother, Ebony, and other members of Fultz’s inner circle, struck the same chord as Fultz’s agent. “No one is quite sure where the hell that story came from,” a source told PhillyVoice.
Kristina Leahy: BJ Armstrong told me his client, #Draymond Green, is going to be a phenomenal coach one day. Admits Draymond is a handful, but keeps him sharp. pic.twitter.com/xAQ6Q8gj5Y
Bamba is riding a wave of rebellion in professional basketball, powered by talented young athletes who are determined not to let others’ expectations constrain their ambitions. The N.B.A. is big business, and players — even unproven ones like Bamba — are small corporations unto themselves. But Bamba wants to be in charge of his future. He does not, for example, have an agent, a rarity among N.B.A. players. What he does have is Lenox Partners, which he co-founded with Greer Love, 36, a childhood mentor who left his job in private equity last spring to launch the company. Love described it as “the umbrella entity that manages all the various facets of Mo’s life,” ranging from investments to philanthropy to sponsorship deals.
Not long ago, however, those same coaches probably wouldn’t have known the name Bret Just unless they had recruited a player out of Deerfield High in suburban Chicago, where he was the varsity basketball coach with a 58-26 career record. A mere eight years later, it would be surprising if a coaching change anywhere didn’t involve him. “There’s only four or five agents in the college space that have the majority of the coaches,” said Daniel Parker, the vice president for the sports division of the powerful Parker Executive Search. “If I have a search, he’s one you call. He’s got a diverse group of coaches and he’s done a good job of building relationships with search firms and athletics directors, but also general managers in the (NBA). That takes of a lot of relationship skills to navigate both the college and professional ranks.”
The exact size of Just’s client list, however, is something he doesn’t discuss. Even though his reputation has now put him in a position to be selective about clients – “If I can’t be fully invested, I won’t take them on at this point,” he said – agents often have to fight against the perception of becoming spread too thin or having too many coaches competing for the same jobs. “When people say you have too many clients, one of the things I tell them is, ‘You want me to have 30 coaches and act like I have three,’ ” he said. That’s why Just spends his hours sending texts of support and pores over schedules to create road trips where he can see as many people as possible.