On Wednesday, the New York Knicks announced the hiring of William Wesley as Executive Vice President. Wesley is not a well-known name to the average fan, but by all accounts, the man nicknamed “World Wide Wes” has been a power broker in the NBA for decades.
The move doesn’t come as a total shock. New York Knicks’ President Leon Rose said in a statement announcing the move that he has been close with Wesley for over 40 years. Both come from the South Jersey/Philadelphia area. They worked together at the agency CAA for the last decade. Before that, Wesley’s role in the NBA and overall basketball world has been harder to pin down. It’s been the subject of some intrigue.
Who is World Wide Wes?
Wesley got his start in basketball selling shoes decades ago. He made a few connections to local hoops stars and began climbing the B-ball ladder from there.
In the 1990s, Wesley met Michael Jordan and began working at one of Jordan’s basketball camps. Over the years, Wesley has worked closely with Jordan, Allen Iverson, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and others. He is known as a connection guy. According to sources, he is great at building relationships and, seemingly, has a “guy” for everything. He’s the guy NBA players call when they need something. Bill Simmons wrote in 2010 that Wesley “carries more weight in the league than anybody.”
Rose represented LeBron James from 2005 until 2012 when James left CAA to join Klutch Sports, which was started by his friend Rich Paul. During James’ time at CAA, he and Wesley worked closely. It is said that he had positioned himself at the “epicenter” of James’ anticipated free agency in 2010. One writer wrote that Wes, “is everywhere and knows everybody.”
How involved Is Wesley Today?
It’s unclear the degree to which Wesley is still a power broker in the NBA. In recent years, Wesley has been a coaching agent, famously connected to John Calipari of Kentucky. Wesley helped Calipari’s recruiting efforts.
In a statement on Wednesday, Wesley said his personal relationship with Rose and Knicks owner James Dolan convinced him to finally work with a team.
“My long history with and respect for Jim Dolan and Leon Rose, as well as the chance to be part of the New York Knicks, made this an opportunity I wanted to pursue,” Wesley said in a team statement. “I look forward to joining the current staff and moving the organization toward a successful future.”
In an interview with MSG Networks on Wednesday, Rose touted Wesley’s ability to develop relationships, saying he’ll be an asset to the Knicks. Though his exact role is a bit vague at this moment, his connections stand to help a team stuck in a perpetual rebuild.