Major professional sports leagues such as the NFL and NBA often have mandatory orientation sessions for incoming rookies, who learn the hazards of their impending fame and fortune. They're counseled to guard themselves against gold-digging women, down-on-their-luck friends, too-good-to-be-true investments and late-night outings in questionable surroundings.
Identity theft is another topic that surely arises, with typical advice on checking credit scores, financial statements and the like. But judging by recent cases in the news, athletes need to be on the lookout for impersonators, too.
It takes a special breed of lowlife to go around pretending he's a pro player, pushing up on young women and soliciting charitable donations. That's what a man in the Washington, D.C., area has been doing, according to Vince Young (the Philadelphia Eagles' backup quarterback) and his sports-management agency.
The ruse was uncovered when a newspaper published a photo, purportedly of Young and a model at a D.C. nightclub. The alleged impersonator apparently had a habit of going out and playing make-believe, in a manner that was a dead giveaway to some.
Young should pursue every possible legal action against this man, whose criminal behavior is no joking matter. He has received money (and possibly sex) under false pretenses, and making an example of him might serve as a deterrent to would-be impersonators.
Miami Heat superstar LeBron James had a different sort of problem, a predicament that's all too rare in our community: a black man who fights to prove that he is the father. That was the claim of Leicester Bryce Stovall, who qualifies for the lowlife label if he actually did impregnate a 15-year-old Gloria James (LeBron's mom) when he was 29.
Stovall, a Washington lawyer, filed a lawsuit seeking $4 million last summer, around the same time James was deciding whether to stay in Cleveland or leave for Miami. The timing of the lawsuit? Purely coincidental, according to Stovall, who never really explained why he should be entitled to $4 million.
Anyway, a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit recently, apparently not believing Stovall's claims that James and his mother rigged DNA tests to produce negative results. Undeterred, Stovall said he's considering "a number of legal options."
Here's better advice for anyone who impersonates a star athlete's father, or a star athlete himself: Get real. We're already suffering too many fake and phony men.
In other news: New Life for Ebony and Jet.