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Carter loses suit against ex-agent for contract breach

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- A federal jury ordered NBA star Vince Carter to pay his imprisoned former agent, William "Tank" Black,
nearly $4.7 million in lost commissions and damages.

The panel said Tuesday that Carter breached his contract with
Black's company, Professional Management Inc., when the Toronto Raptors guard dissolved the agreement in 2000. It awarded Black
$4,675,640.45 in actual damages.

The jury also found that Black violated his fiduciary duties to
Carter and ordered the one-time sports agent to pay $800,000 to
Carter. That was the total of two loans Carter made to Black.

"Obviously, we're unhappy with it," Carter's attorney, Jake
Moore, said. "It's hard to understand. One thing I know about
juries, figuring out the rationale behind decisions is sometimes
very hard to do."

The decision brought a temporary end to the court case. Carter
spent several days away from his NBA club as he fought Black, a
federal prisoner.

Carter, who testified Monday, had returned to Toronto, where the
Raptors open the regular season against Houston on Wednesday night.

Black, who signed Carter after he left North Carolina in 1998,
sued his former client for $9 million in commissions for
endorsement deals the former agent said he landed for Carter, as
well as $5 million in damages.

Carter countersued, demanding Black pay him the $15.9 million
Carter lost when Puma sued him over a failed shoe deal, and a $3
million penalty for breaking the contract.

The jury said Black and his company were negligent in handling
the Puma contract, but decided Carter was not harmed financially by
the negligence and gave him no damages.

Black pleaded guilty to money laundering, fraud and other
charges for his role in a car-title-for-cash scheme that bilked
millions of dollars from sports stars, including Carter, who lost
$130,000. At one time, Black's clients included NFL players Fred
Taylor, Ike Hilliard and Robert Brooks.

"When you're representing a player, you're a face for that
player," Carter said. "Once you go out and get in legal trouble,
how can you represent somebody?"

Black's attorney, Dawes Cooke, was pleased the jury saw that a
legitimate contract was broken and followed the law.

"We're very happy about it," Cooke said. "We understand that
Carter's a very nice guy, an honorable person and the jury found
against him in favor of somebody in prison."

Moore said Carter intends to appeal. Moore expects to file court
papers within 10 days.