Ex-Con Russian Pays Well For WNBA “Girlfriends”

The LOS ANGELES TIMES sends Megan K. Stack to a place called Vidnoye, Russia, to write about the owner of a women’s professional basketball team. Sounds bizarre, eh? Well, when you read the piece, you’ll know why.

Shabtai von Kalmanovic Tina Thompson

(What a lovely couple!)

The owner is an ex-con, greaseball named Shabtai von Kalmanovic. Kalmanovic, who claims to have made his money erecting buildings in apartheid South Africa, was once jailed in Israel for being a Soviet spy. He uses his countless, questionable millions to lure the top WNBA stars, like Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi, to play for his Moscow-based team, “where they live in luxury and play before halfhearted audiences.

The way the story reads, it’s almost as if the WNBA players are von Kalmanovic’s private, little harem. And the way he talks to them does nothing to dispute that notion.

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