NBA.com opened up discussions with famed University of Chicago Economics Professor Kevin Murphy. If you’re unfamiliar with Murphy or the University of Chicago Economics program (think of Thorstein Veblen, a Worldly Philosopher and coiner of the term “conspicuous consumption”), here’s some quick biographical info on the man:
Never mind the card-carrying variety — Murphy, working with the NBA players union during this lockout, is a check-cashing genius. That’s the very best kind, as bestowed by the MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” — $500,000, no strings attached — he received in 2005 for his research on “seeming intractable economic questions.” Back in 1997, he received the John Bates Clark medal awarded to the most promising economist under the age of 40.
He is a professor of economics at the University of Chicago, he’s been commuting to the labor talks in New York and, with all due respect to NBA commissioner David Stern, union director Billy Hunter and the others hashing out the league’s finances and future, he truly might be the smartest guy in the room.
“Kevin is far and away the smartest guy in the field,” Freakonomics author and Chicago colleague Steven Levitt said in a 2006 profile of Murphy. “Not only is he widely regarded as the smartest economist on Earth, but he can also fix your refrigerator.”
Murphy was at the negotiating table for yesterday’s 15 hour session, and he’ll be back there today (they started at 2 PM EST). His confidence lends us all some well-deserved optimism after Thursday’s BRI blowup.
“I was very pessimistic last week after the Thursday blow-up but I’m beginning to come around and think we’ve got a shot,” Murphy said. “If there’s a deal here, it’s going to be a deal that nobody likes. That’s what deals are. Nobody walks out feeling like they got a complete victory. That’s initially. But then you get back to playing and you realize, geez, I can live with this.”
Check out NBA.com’s Full Q & A with Murphy, who they describe as the “superstar of supply and demand.” I’ll try and post some more information from the interview once I get through the whole thing.
Gary used Mel [Kiper, Jr] like that all the time. In the agent business, people know Gary and Mel are close, and some people suspect that Mel ranks players more favorably if they are Gary’s clients.
One guy who needed money was Ryan Leaf, which was why in 1996 I met with the Cougars’ quarterback at a hotel near campus. This was before his junior season, and Ryan was on the cusp of stardom. He was a whale. I knew that if I could sign him, it would change my life. At the hotel, Ryan made it clear that he had significant credit card debt, something like $5,000, and needed help. I knew that if I just paid off his debt, he would forget about me and have no reason to develop a relationship. “But I want to help,” I said. “How much do you think you would need each month to make your life easier?” He said he needed around $500 a month, which wasn’t much to pay for a player with Ryan’s potential earnings. In the bathroom of that hotel, he signed an undated representation contract and a loan agreement for the money.
From George Dohrmann’s remarkable expose in the new Sports Illustrated about sports agents and their routine cash payments to college athletes. Read every word. (via devingo)
Seconded. This is amazing. And it also explains so much about Ryan Leaf….
Forbes NFL team values: Giants, Jets rank in top ten, but heavy Stadium debt a concern
“The Giants and Jets are both in a very good position now,” said Forbes senior editor Kurt Badenhausen.
But the two teams should enjoy that bounty while it lasts, because they could land in serious financial trouble if there is an NFL lockout in 2011, according to Forbes magazine.
continue reading… NYDailyNews