When Rip Hamilton ascended to the NBA, he brought his friend and student-manager Josh Nochimson with him. With Hamilton’s support, Nochimson gained his agent certification, picked up Luol Deng as a client, and managed Hamilton’s finances.
According to YAHOO! SPORTS, in retrospect, that was a rather huge mistake.
The NBA Players Association has finished an investigation that revealed substantial financial improprieties–like, several hundred thousand dollars–against Hamilton by Nochimson, and the Players Association is planning to turn their findings over to the authorities. Hamilton, as you might guess, is less than happy about the situation:
“I feel violated,” Hamilton said. “It is about the money, but it’s also the trust factor. It’s the loyalty factor. You befriend somebody. You bring them around your family. Everybody knows him. Everybody loves him, just because of you. He pretty much ran my corporation. He knew how to manipulate it.”
In this case, that manipulation involved several credit cards used without Hamilton’s permission, which is not advisable under any circumstances. Whether or not Hochimson’s status as business manager affords him the legal use of the credit cards is one matter, but even if it’s not a violation of the law, there’s this thing called civil court which would love to hear from Hamilton about this. Either way, this is getting resolved.
As mentioned before, Hochimson was–accent on was–Luol Deng’s agent, but after he failed to negotiate a long-term deal, Deng switched to Jason Levien, and Hochimson is now no longer certified as an agent. Hamilton urged Deng to check his own finances, but there’s no report of any impropriety thus far. Still, Hamilton remains hyper-vigilant.
“I told Luol what happened, and he couldn’t believe it,” Hamilton said. “He was like, ‘Not you, Rip. He raves about you. He loves you.’ I said, ‘If you think he could do it to me, just imagine what he’ll do to you and everybody else.’
[…] “We don’t like to look over stuff, but you can’t trust anybody. I don’t give a damn who it is, you can’t trust nobody. When you think you can trust somebody, and you don’t start looking over your stuff, it’s nobody’s fault but your own.”