Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Harlem Ambasadors sue Harlem Wizards over LaMarvon Jackson

Back in 2006, we blogged about the Harlem Ambassadors taking on the Harlem Globetrotters in an FTC complaint over the Globetrotters'"use of arenas" clauses that allegedly prevented the Ambassadors from playing in certain arenas.

Six years later, the Ambassadors are back in sports legal news.  This time they have filed a lawsuit against the Harlem Wizards over the Wizards allegedly trying to sign LaMarvon Jackson, who the Ambassadors say was under contract to play for them.  The 6'6 Jackson didn't exactly have a big impact as a college basketball player -- he averaged just 1 point per game over two seasons at the University of Arkansas Little Rock from 2007 to 2009 -- but has apparently became a coveted professional comedy basketball player.  Or at least one worthy of filing a lawsuit.

Here is an excerpt from the Ambassadors' press release on the lawsuit:

Complaint against comedy basketball competitor is no laughing matter

* * *
The complaint, filed in DuPage County, Illinois Circuit Court, alleges that the Harlem Wizards tortiously interfered with a contractual relationship between the Harlem Ambassadors and a basketball player, LaMarvon Jackson.

“Just like a referee decides who’s playing fair and who’s breaking the rules on the basketball court, we need the court to make a similar determination,” said Dale Moss, President of the Harlem Ambassadors.  He added that “our goal is to protect the sanctity of our performer agreements.”  The Ambassadors are seeking more than $70,000 in general contract and punitive damages.

Both Harlem Ambassadors, Inc. and Harlem Wizards Entertainment Basketball, Inc. are independent professional basketball organizations and neither is affiliated with a league.  “If this were a league matter, the issue is so clear and so simple that a wise commissioner would resolve this in minutes,” observed Moss.
An aside: for law students looking for paper/journal topics, exhibition/comedy basketball could have some fertile legal ground to explore.

UPDATE:  Dale Moss, President of the Harlem Ambassadors, emails me with a "photo of Jackson in Ambassadors uniform, which we will prove is the rightful uniform."  Here it is: