Few journeyman NBA ballers have come to the league packing as much braggadocio as Damon Jones.
The Houston native played on 11 teams in as many years, earning a reputation as a deep three man... who came through occasionally (.407 lifetime field goal percentage). But meh stats can always be drowned out by a big mouth. Jones regularly referred to himself as the best shooter in the world (not to mention the best dressed).
Jones' real skill, however, was making friends with the talent. When he did time on the 2005-06 Heat, Charles Barkley quipped that Damon was Alfred the Butler to Shaq and D-Wade's Batman and Robin. And when Jones shared the hardwood with LeBron James on the Cleveland Cavaliers, they became close buds.
Since bouncing out of the league in 2009, Jones hasn't done much. But in May 2013, he inked a deal with Denver-based Pro Sports MVP. The company runs goodwill tours through U.S. military bases in Afghanistan. Jones signed on for a June 20 to July 1 swing.
But a few days before Jones was due to board a plane, he notified Pro Sports MVP he was going to bail on his commitment so he could do commentary for Game 6 and Game 7 of the NBA finals. Pro Sports shuffled around the schedule to accommodate him.
On June 19, Jones said he wasn't going on the rescheduled trip, this time due to the illness of a family member. As proof, he faxed over a hospital release form that indicated the family member had been in but "released to return to work/school" the next day. Jones allegedly told the company he'd been at his family member's bedside in the hospital all week. He never made the flight.
But hey, there are family emergencies... and then there's the NBA finals. After Jones' buddy LeBron locked in the championship on June 20, Jones "was photographed attending the Miami Heat's championship victory party" that day "at a nightclub in South Beach," according to a federal lawsuit filed recently against Jones by Pro Sports. The retired baller was also reportedly in Las Vegas the next Saturday with LeBron for a victory dinner at the Venetian Las Vegas.
Pro Sports' lawsuit alleges that Jones cooked up his excuses just so he could party with his pal. As a result of Jones' "unexcused failure to participate" in the tour, the U.S. military canceled the company's "pending goodwill tour contracts," the suit claims.
Attorneys for Pro Sports declined to comment on the case. A call to Jones' agent was not returned.
Send your story tips to the author, Kyle Swenson.
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