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'World Wide' impact doesn't go deep

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Jeff Goodman

Jeff Goodman is a senior college basketball writer for FOXSports.com. Check out his Yardbarker blog. MORE>>
 
   
 

He has somehow earned the moniker “The Most Powerful Man in Sports”, a guy who is virtually everywhere — yet no one can pinpoint exactly what it is that he does.

LeBron James

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He helped serve peace in Detroit a few years back when Ron Artest went ballistic, he received an all-access pass with the Olympic Team in China and is a card-carrying member of LeBron James’ inner circle.

William Wesley.

AKA “World Wide Wes.”

The guy that will supposedly help The King choose the next destination for his throne.

It’s not going to happen.

Sure, World Wide Wes — or Uncle Wes as some refer to him — has some power, some “juice” as it's called in recruiting circles when college coaches attempt to determine who has influence with a particular recruit.

"But LeBron isn’t going to Wes to figure out where to sign,” one source close to the situation said.

"No chance,” another source said.

Even Wesley, who declined to comment for this story, has acknowledged to numerous people over the last few weeks that he’s not going to be telling ‘Bron what to do.

LeBron is only 25 years old, but has always been mature from the first time I met him as a sophomore at St. Vincent-St. Mary High. Sure, he’s got groups of guys that he confides in, one led by childhood friend Maverick Carter and one that includes Wesley.

But there’s no chance that Wesley, the same guy who was unable to deliver lottery picks Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans and John Wall to his buddy, agent Leon Rose, will be able to deliver LeBron to the Chicago Bulls, the Miami Heat or anywhere else for that matter.

Wesley has become a farce.

It’s our fault. Not his.

Wes didn’t ask for any of this.

The media began the façade a few years back when GQ wrote the story with the headline, "Is this the Most Powerful Man in Sports?”

The truth is that Wesley has been The Mystery Man.

It’s similar to evaluating players. The less you see of them, the more intriguing they become.

That’s been the case with Wesley, although it’s not a case of being unable to see him – but instead, hear him. You see, he rarely – if ever – does interviews.

The conversation will always begin the same way.

"Are we off the record?” Wes will say.

Wesley has come a long way since working at Pro Shoes in Cherry Hill, N.J. and as a doorman for a club owned by Rick Mahorn.

Worldwide Wes

Wesley was there when Ron Artest went into the stands in 2004.

Allen Einstein

He’s found a way into the inner circle of Michael Jordan and now LeBron.

Along the way, he established a close and long-standing relationship with current Kentucky coach John Calipari and has recently developed one with Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski over the last few years through USA Basketball.

"Coach K needed Wes,” said one source. "He wanted to make USA Basketball cool again and he knew that Wes could help with some of the guys – including LeBron.”

Uncle Wes refers to Rip Hamilton as his nephew. He has become close with NBA stars such as Chris Paul and can often be found sitting next to Jay-Z and Beyonce on the sidelines.

Wesley is also tight with the top-ranked player in the Class of 2011, New Jersey native Michael Gilchrist, who just happened to commit to Calipari and Kentucky a few months ago.

But this notion that Wesley is the most powerful man in sports – or even basketball – borders on preposterous.

If he was, Oregon head coach Ernie Kent wouldn’t have been fired. One of those closest to Wesley is ex-Ducks assistant Kenny Payne, who was recently hired by Calipari at Kentucky. Payne lured talent to Eugene, but it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo has done just fine without dealing with Wesley.

The same goes for Kansas head man Bill Self, Villanova’s Jay Wright and most of the elite college coaches in the country.

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But none of them want to go against Wesley, either – because he does have a measure of influence.

Just ask Calipari’s nemesis down the road, Rick Pitino.

"I am losing a lot of players to Kentucky,” Pitino told ESPN a few weeks back when asked if Wesley is powerful.

Pitino is actually one of the few that will agree to being quoted talking about Wes. Most of them declined to comment because, well, there’s truly no benefit.

It can only hurt them.

But Wesley receives too much credit. There was speculation that Wesley was partially responsible for Josh Selby de-committing from Tennessee and giving Kentucky a hard look before choosing Kansas.

Maybe it happened.

When Terrence Jones decided to back out of his pledge from Washington and ultimately sign with Kentucky, Wesley’s name surfaced.

All signs ultimately seem to point back to Wesley, the guy who has worked his way up through relationships and says his job over the years has been selling mortgages to athletes.

Wesley has basked in the secrecy, declining interviews until recently – when it’s become clear that he’s headed into business with his buddy, Leon Rose, with CAA representing NBA and college coaches.

Now his alliance with LeBron will become official.

But that still doesn’t mean he’s got any juice.

Tagged: Bulls, Cavaliers, Lakers, Derrick Rose

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