Reader, I will be honest with you: My eyes turned to little wads of chalk and I lapsed into a coma for 50,000 lifetimes of the earth while trying to read this ESPN.com feature about the twists of hotshot rookie Zion Williamson’s path to a sneaker endorsement deal. All I remember about it is the unbearably tragic subplot concerning one James “Chubby” Wells, the hapless doofus who was all set to be Zion’s (extremely rich) agent, up until the multiple-choice portion of the job interview.
Did you know there is a multiple-choice test you have to take to become an NBA agent? There is! The players’ union administers it, and it seems like a smart idea: It’s a firewall against players getting stuck with clownfraud agents who don’t know how contracts work, which could have extremely bad ramifications for the entire union. But I am not here to talk about that. I am here to talk about the poor sonofabitch who, because of that test, cannot reap many millions of dollars from representing the hottest young star to enter the NBA in years.
From ESPN.com, with emphasis added:
[Lee Anderson, Zion’s stepfather and advisor] had played college basketball at Clemson in the late 1970s alongside James “Chubby” Wells, who went on to find success as an NBA agent in the mid-2000s, representing role players around the league like Dale Davis and Ramon Sessions after his own 12-year career playing professional basketball overseas.
The family’s plan was to have Wells and Anderson form a new sports agency, centered on the generational talent and appeal of Williamson once he turned pro. Before that could happen, Wells needed to become recertified with the National Basketball Players Association, after his prior player representation approval window had lapsed.
But Wells failed the agent certification test administered by the NBPA — a mandate for all agents looking to represent players in negotiations with teams. The 50-question multiple-choice test can only be taken once per calendar year, meaning Wells is unable to retest again until January 2020.
That’s just insanely bleak. Imagine being this close to being the guy who gets to pull down a percentage all the salary and endorsement deals this extremely likable human basketball highlight reel is going to haul in via the contracts he signs between now and January, and then missing out because you fucked up the Scantron. Zion was going to be the cornerstone of a whole new agency! His fame and success were going to be leveraged to sign other clients! But now, not! Because of a 50-question multiple-choice test.
I think I would change my name and move to Brazil. If you see Chubby Wells anytime soon, buy him a drink.