Kevin Garnett could live seven lifetimes doing his best Antoine Walker impression and not spend all the money he's made in his NBA career. As opposed to Walker, he tried to take a chunk of that change he's earned and invest it into a soccer club recently. He attempted to purchase a share of AS Roma to be specific, and let that money make more money for him tucked away somewhere in Italy.
But while LeBron James was allowed to buy into the Fenway Sports Group as a shareholder in Liverpool FC, KG's bid was blocked. Reasons for the NBA blocking this attempt revolved around Celtics part-owner James Pallotta also owning a stake in AS Roma.
When the teams met last month in an exhibition at Fenway Park (Roma beat Liverpool, 2-1) it was revealed Garnett had been excluded from financial involvement with Roma. The NBA blocked the move because AS Roma’s principal investor is Celtics part-owner James Pallotta. “If you enter into a business agreement with the owner of a team that doesn’t involve playing service, there are potential problems,” a league source said. “Maybe not in this case. But there is a chance of, say, making a contract a lot larger.” James is allowed to invest in Liverpool because Fenway Sports Group has no connection with the NBA. “With LeBron, there is no tie-in whatsoever, so it’s a different deal,” the source said. “It’s like having a business relationship with Nike. We make it simple — you can’t have a business deal with your team, or any other team, because there is the possibility of an underhanded deal there. It’s pretty clear-cut.” There was hope for an exception to be made because Garnett’s investment would have been drawn from a blind trust administered by his attorney. But the NBA said no dice.
While it's certainly unlikely that Pallotta would've used this investment opportunity as a vehicle to kick more money back to Garnett for balling out as a member of the Celtics, I can see where the League is coming from here. If this investment is allowed, it could open up a slippery slope. Say for instance Kyrie Irving wants to own a piece of Quicken Loans, the mortgage company owned by Cavs Owner Dan Gilbert. He's offered a ton more money through that business ventrue than he could be through the collective barganining agreement, and he ends up re-signing in Cleveland down the road as a result. It's certainly not the same thing as the KG example, but by the letter of the law it's close.
For Garnett, he'll just have to wait until his career is officially over before he can buy a soccer team. As it stands right now, he'll have to settle for finishing out a 3-year deal that's paying him $34 more million as a member of the Celtics. By the time his 20-year NBA career ends, he is expected to have made over $300 million in the League. Probably enought to buy a whole soccer League somewhere in 2016 if he still wants.
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