The Post-NBA Life of Tyrone Nesby
April 27th, 2009

I love to read when I’m on the toilet. Love it. Can barely go without it, in fact. Unfortunately, I don’t own many books. So I tend to read the same ones over and over again.

True to form, I am currently mid-way through a repeat reading of “When Nothing Else Matters” by Michael Leahy, a exposé-type book about Michael Jordan’s comeback with the Wizards. It’s quite good fun, particularly if the Wizards-era Jordan was the only Jordan era that you were around to see, as was the case for me. I’m particularly enjoying reading about all the other characters in the story, like Doug Collins, Tim Grover, Jerry Stackhouse, Rip Hamilton, Tyronn Lue, Chris Whitney, Kwame Brown (who, it’s fair to say, struggles for good news throughout), Juan Dixon, Bobby Simmons, Courtney Alexander and others. But I am especially mindful of one name that I’d forgotten about, that of Tyrone Nesby, the former defensive specialist and hater of passing that had a few years of coming off NBA benches after picking up a surprisingly generous contract from the Clippers of all teams.

Because of this, I decided to look up what T-Nes was doing these days. The last I had heard, he’d become a rapper, but that was about two years ago, now, so I looked again.

After the Wizards’ 2001/02 season, Nesby’s $9 million contract had run out, and the Wizards looked elsewhere. No other NBA team seemed to want him, and Nesby hit the European trail, signing with Larisa in Greece and averaging 17.8 points per game. He then went to 2003 summer league with the New York Knicks, but didn’t get a full contract, and went back to Europe the following year visiting both Italy (13.4 ppg for Varese) and Serbia (21.1 ppg for Relfex Beograd). In the 2004/05 season, Nesby signed with Lietuvos Rytas in Lithuania, for whom he averaged 16.3 points in the ULEB Cup and 13.5 ppg in the Lithuanian league. Nesby’s only other basketball stop was in the 2006/07 season, when he co-owned an ABA team called the Las Vegas Venom. (Note: if ever you’ve wondered what co-owning an ABA team is like, write yourself a cheque for $5,000, then set light to the corner of it and use it to burn down your house. It’s a bit like that.) They folded after a few months, getting little further than playing seven games and designing a logo in that time, and that was the end of Nesby’s basketball efforts. (Nesby was also the head coach and the star player for the team. Four months well spent.)

You can’t keep a good man down, though, and Tyrone Nesby found his true talents when he started to make it big in Lithuania as a rapper called T-Nes. Nesby released an album there called “Serious Business”, and it featured Nesby rapping in English to some seminal Lithuanian choruses. Samples of some T-Nes songs can be found on Nesby’s website, Nesby World, as well as a frankly stupendous gallery, feature nude pictures of Nesby’s upper body and a touching moment with a Luke Jackson lookalike. Truly something for everyone there.

In addition to this, Nesby has also seemingly gone back to university to finish his criminal justice degree (he left UNLV after two seasons), information which I learnt from reading this. That page also gives an incorrectly-spelled link to Nesby’s other website for his non-profit foundation, the aptly named ‘Tyrone Nesby Foundation’. (The foundation’s site no longer works, even when spelt properly, and is only viewable via this archive version. But it’s something.) The Hoopcoach link also speaks of Nesby’s desire to become a coach one day, and, on his Linkedin page, Tyrone alludes to his dream of becoming a casino host. The man knows what he wants at least occasionally. And I can respect that.

It’s all rather positive stuff. A decent basketball career, playing to a decent standard for good money, a reasonable sideline in the music industry, many years spent running a foundation with genuine (if wildly overambitious) intentions to give back to his community, and a man who went back to school to complete his degree mindful of its importance to achieving what he wants to achieving. There’s a potential biopic to be made out of that somewhere.

There are however some less positive bits.

Nesby was arrested in the Wizards locker room back in April 2001 after a March 1999 arrest warrant was issued for him after an October 1995 incident. (If that makes sense.) In the initial incident, Nesby was alleged to have punched, kicked and broke the nose of a man named David Collins in the face during an argument about the verdict in the O.J. Simpson murder trial (which might explain his decision to major in criminal science), and the assault led to a charge of misdemeanour battery. Nesby was sued over the incident in a civil judgment back in 1998, and lost, having to pay the victim $16,500, but the criminal charges were later dropped, despite the six years they took to come to fruition. After this came two contempt of court arrests, the first in mid-2007 and the second in January 2008, both times for failing to appear in court at hearings for outstanding child support payments. The second arrest saw Nesby sentenced to 22 days in jail for contempt, with the initial hearing being about a child support case that saw him owing over $65,000. A lot of money.

If that was the end of the money owed, then it would be bad enough. But it isn’t. Reportedly, at the time of that arrest, Nesby owed “at least $1 million” in child support in various other judgements, not least of which is a $300,000 or so debt in Illinois, where records of so-called ‘delinquents’ are made publicly available on a website. Nesby’s entry currently shows that, despite the most recent payment being in this calendar year, he owes almost half a million dollars in this one case alone, and that’s not counting the judgments in other states around the country. At the time of Nesby’s aforementioned arrest in January 2008, this debt was only – if you can call it that – around $300,000; apparently, subsequent payments notwithstanding, it’s somehow gone up $100,000 in less than 18 months.

What Nesby is doing to earn the money to pay the debts is unclear, and not really any of my business. But whatever he’s doing, he’s surely not earning $3 million a year any more. Yet the payments would appear to have been set back when he was. Is that fair? I don’t know. It doesn’t seem it.

Either way, help out. Buy Tyrone Nesby’s music. Together, we can make poverty history. Just buy two tracks a month, or whatever you can afford. Please.

Posted by at 4:56 AM