Mobley Charges Msg Forced Retirement

Posted: November 17, 2011

FORMER NBA GUARD Cuttino Mobley filed a lawsuit against Madison Square Garden yesterday, accusing the New York Knicks of pressuring him to retire as a way to save approximately $19 million.

Mobley, a Philadelphia native and graduate of Cardinal Dougherty, retired because of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a heart disease, shortly after the Knicks acquired him from the Los Angeles Clippers on Nov. 21, 2008. It is the same disease that felled another Philadelphia star, Hank Gathers, in 1990. Mobley knew he had an irregularity with the heart, but an MRI exam the team ordered after his physical revealed the more serious condition.

The lawsuit filed in the Southern District of New York contends the Knicks knew of Mobley's condition but pushed to make the trade anyway, then sent him to specialists they knew would oppose him playing, so insurance could pay his contract and it wouldn't count against the luxury tax.

The Knicks were trying to create salary-cap space for the summer of 2010, and the trade allowed them to move Zach Randolph's hefty contract. The Knicks could have voided the trade after Mobley's test, but instead waived the physical requirement - a decision that the suit said meant $19 million through insurance payments and amounts saved under the luxury tax.

"The Knicks saved millions, and cleared room under the salary cap in their quest to retain the services of other marquis players, but Mobley's career was effectively ended," the suit says.

It adds that Mobley had been medically cleared to play every year of his career and had never experienced any symptoms, and that he has suffered "irreparable injury, monetary damages, mental anguish, emotional distress, humiliation, and other compensable damages as a result of defendant's discriminatory practices."

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