Former NBA shooting guard Cuttino Mobley filed a lawsuit against Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, alleging that the New York Knicks pressured him to retire as a way to save approximately $19 million in league luxury tax payments and also clear salary cap space for other marquee players.
Mobley, now 36, was diagnosed in 1999 with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a thickening of the heart wall. Despite his condition, he played for Houston, Orlando, Sacramento and the Los Angeles Clippers because he signed a waiver of liability with each of those clubs during his career.
Upon signing with the Knicks on Nov. 21, 2008, who Mobley says were fully “aware of his HCM condition when they agreed to take over his contract,” Cuttino was forced to undergo evaluations by two cardiologists.
Those doctors then “opined that Mobley should not play,” the suit said.
“[The Knicks] saved millions,” the suit said pointing out that the NBA’s insurance policy picked up 80 percent of Mobley’s salary for the final season and a half.
Additionally, the lawsuit, filed Wednesday in New York, claims that Cuttino’s former team’s actions “effectively deprived him of the ability to play professional basketball, not just for the Knicks, but for the rest of his career.”
The suit added that “several N.B.A. teams” showed interest in Mobley “but backed out” because of fears over his heart condition.
In an interview with the NY Daily News in June 2010, Mobley said he was “ready” to play basketball again.
“The doctors always made me aware of the risks, but I wanted to play,” Mobley told The Daily. “I’m not angry at the Knicks. They were looking out for me and protecting their own interests. I like Donnie Walsh as a man and as a general manager. I wanted to play in Mike D’Antoni’s system. It just didn’t work out. There are no hard feelings.”
via New York Times