MIAMI — Chris Andersen felt good when he won a championship last June with the Miami Heat. But he could have been better.
“He said he wanted his name back. I said, ‘We’re working on it,’ ” Andersen’s lawyer and agent, Mark Bryant, said in an interview with FOX Sports Florida. “I told him your name is more important than a championship.’”
The “Birdman” got his name back Wednesday when prosecutors in Colorado cleared him of any wrongdoing after Andersen had been under investigation since May 2012 in a case that resulted in a raid of his Denver-area home. It has been determined the center was the victim of a wide-ranging Internet hoax concocted by a woman in Canada who has been arrested.
The woman in Canada, who also is alleged to have duped others, is believed to have made it appear Andersen was communicating with a woman in California who was underage. That’s why Andersen’s home was raided by a unit that deals with child pornography cases.
“He is relieved, but I don’t know if he’ll ever fully recover,” Bryant said about Andersen, who was with the Denver Nuggets at the time he was first under investigation. “He’s gone through this process from being upset to recluse . . . Imagine what it is like for people to call you pedophile and things like that.”
Bryant said Andersen first learned about a month ago his name would be cleared. Still, Bryant said Andersen must continue to endure comments that have been written about him that remain on the Internet.
“Once you yell fire in a theater, how do you take it back?” Bryant said. “We pulled up an article Tuesday (on the Internet) that had a thousand comments (that were mostly negative).
“This is a man who was killed (by people). He’s a guy that likes to dress up as Santa Claus, goes to orphanages and inner-city school programs and he loves kids. And he has to go through this. Can you imagine that?”
Bryant said Andersen also is concerned about other victims that the Canadian woman is alleged to have duped. Shelly Lynn Chartier, 29, of Easterville, Manitoba, was arrested in January and charged with possession and transmission of child pornography, extortion and utter threats, although her connection to Andersen wasn’t known until recently.
On the day it became public Andersen had been cleared, Bryant said he spent it at his College Station, Texas, home along with his fiancée, who had a birthday. Bryant only would name the woman as Tina and said a wedding date has not yet been set.
Bryant said Andersen will return to Miami next week in preparation for training camp, which begins Oct. 1. After being waived by the Nuggets in July 2012, Andersen signed with the Heat last January and was a key cog in their run to a second straight title.