A federal jury in Columbia, S.C., ordered Raptors G Vince Carter to pay his imprisoned former agent, William "Tank" Black, nearly $4.7 million in lost commissions and damages.
The panel said yesterday that Carter breached his contract with Black's company, Professional Management Inc., when he dissolved the agreement in 2000. It awarded Black $4,675,640.45 in damages.
The jury also found that Black violated his fiduciary duties to Carter and ordered the onetime sports agent to pay $800,000 to Carter. That was the total of two loans Carter made to Black.
"Obviously, we're unhappy with it," said Carter's lawyer, Jake Moore. "It's hard to understand. One thing I know about juries, figuring out the rationale behind decisions is sometimes very hard to do."
The decision brought a temporary end to the court case. Carter spent several days away from the Raptors as he fought Black, a federal prisoner.
Carter, who testified Monday, had returned to Toronto, where the Raptors will open the regular season tonight against the Rockets.
Black, who signed Carter after he left North Carolina in 1998, sued his former client for $9 million in commissions for endorsement deals the former agent said he landed for Carter, as well as $5 million in damages.
Carter countersued, demanding Black pay him the $15.9 million Carter lost when Puma sued him over a failed shoe deal, and a $3 million penalty for breaking the contract.
The jury said Black and his company were negligent in handling the Puma contract, but decided Carter was not harmed financially by the negligence and gave him no damages.
Black pleaded guilty to money laundering, fraud and other charges for his role in a car-title-for-cash scheme that bilked millions of dollars from sports stars, including Carter, who lost $130,000.
* A BIG DEAL: Before last season, the Spurs wanted to push Tony Parker aside to make room for Jason Kidd at point guard. This week the Spurs made a big commitment to the 22-year-old Frenchman: a six-year contract extension reportedly worth $66 million.
The deal was finalized late Monday night, within a few hours of the league's signing deadline. Had an agreement not been reached, Parker would have become a restricted free agent at the end of this season.
"Every year we are going to play in the playoffs and every year we have a shot to win the championship," Parker said. "That's most important for me. It's not making $85 million and playing for the Hawks or the Clippers and be sad every day."
* A REAL GAMER: Shaquille O'Neal wants to play in the Heat's opener tonight at New Jersey despite a strained left hamstring. Coach Stan Van Gundy said O'Neal's availability won't be determined until game time.
-- From News Services