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TANGLED WEB
Phil Taylor
September 15, 1997
MARCUS CAMBY WAS BOTH VICTIM AND VILLAIN IN HIS ILLICIT DEALINGS WITH AGENTS WHILE AT UMASS
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September 15, 1997

Tangled Web

MARCUS CAMBY WAS BOTH VICTIM AND VILLAIN IN HIS ILLICIT DEALINGS WITH AGENTS WHILE AT UMASS

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Glasco went back downstairs, where he found Spears talking to Camby's friends Murray and Boris Wray. "Marcus is sitting with his head down," Glasco recalls. "He hasn't said a word. I felt like smacking him upside his head. It was like, You stupid idiot. What are you doing? I warned you two years ago this moment was going to come." After some very tense moments, Glasco says, Spears finally ordered everyone out of his house, but not before uttering his threat to expose Camby in the tabloids.

Glasco insists that others dealt with Spears much more than he did, especially Murray, "Tamia always had money," Glasco says. "One game, they were playing Wake Forest at UMass, and I needed to get a soda, Tamia was like, 'I'll get it, Glasco,' and he pulled out a wad that was incredible. I'm thinking he's doing drugs, because at that time I don't know who Wesley Spears is. Tamia knew what I thought, so he said, 'No, Glasco, it ain't drugs.' All of a sudden, every [road] game, he's flying in, sometimes first class. He's staying in hotels, living it up. He's always got a rental car. I was trying to figure it out when Janice told me, 'Wesley's paying for everything.' "

Although Murray doesn't deny his involvement with Spears, he says the incident Glasco describes never happened. "I grew up on the streets," he says. "I learned to be smarter than that. I don't pull out a wad of money around anybody, especially in a crowd of people. That's just Glasco trying to make some people look bad 'cause he thinks it will make him look good."

After signing with ProServ, Camby gave Lounsbury $28,500. Camby's representatives told a UMass internal committee that investigated his dealings with agents that Lounsbury had borrowed that sum and "was late in paying the money back and indicated that he was in fear for his life" and that Camby had made the payment to "save his life." But Lounsbury told SI, "I don't know where in the hell they got that." He says that Camby paid him because he threatened to sue the player for the money he had spent on him. He added that Camby's representatives had him sign a confidentiality agreement, which he produced for SI, that was to keep him from ever mentioning the deal.

Johnson says that "word had gotten back to us" that Lounsbury had gambling debts ("My gambling debts were a very small part of my overall debts," Lounsbury says) and that "Marcus gave him the money to help him out with that in return for a confidentiality agreement that was supposed to keep Lounsbury from talking publicly about his involvement with Marcus. Obviously he's broken that agreement. If Marcus wanted to sue him, he'd have a pretty good case."

And why not? A lawsuit would be just another twist in this unsavory tale. Camby lakes solace in his belief that he has done what he can to atone for his misdeeds. "At least I can say I didn't duck anything," he says. "I dealt with what I did, and I've tried to do whatever I can to make it right." He also refuses to blame his actions on his friends Murray and Wray, or on the fact that he grew up in the Hartford housing projects with little money.

"I've tried to tell Marcus that he has to stand up and take responsibility for his actions, and I think he's done that," says Isiah Thomas, the Raptors' president and general manager. "But I also think that he got into the situations in the first place because some people took advantage of the fact that he was young and easy to lead astray. This wasn't some shrewd guy trying to con everybody. This was a teenager with a lot of unethical people trying to tempt him, and after a while he gave in to the temptation."

Despite his status as persona non grata in the Camby camp, Glasco freely analyzes his former player—and his take is markedly different from Thomas's. "I think he thought [accepting money from agents] was a game," Glasco says. "Just take the money from these guys and then they would disappear and he would go on his merry ride. While I was involved, I saw other players who were doing that same thing, and agents would disappear. If the agents didn't sign the guy, they would be gone. But none of those players was as high a draft choice as Marcus. None of them were going to be a top pick. That's why he was different. He didn't seem to understand that."

But Camby says he kept track of which agents were honest and dishonest and that he made a point of signing with one he considers trustworthy. "I went with ProServ because they had a track record with a lot of NBA players and because they didn't offer me anything," he says. "The funny thing is, all those people who offered me things and gave me things were hurting their chances of getting me to sign with them."

It is unlikely that Camby would ever listen to any advice from Glasco, but the latter offers it anyway. "He's got to move somewhere else," Glasco says, referring to the fact that Camby still lives in the Hartford area in the off-season. "You've got to hire a trainer, and you've got to focus. They don't have time to waste with you. There's another Marcus Camby coming up next year."

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