William Sydney "Wes" Wesley (born August 14, 1964 in Camden, New Jersey) is a consultant for Creative Artists Agency. Known as "World Wide Wes" or simply "Wes," he is noted for his relationships with numerous high-profile National Basketball Association (NBA) players and team owners, college basketball head coaches and their agents. Considered by many observers within the industry as a power broker and one of the most influential men in the business side of basketball, he forged those strong ties without being associated with any business entity.
He is associated with many of the league's most prominent players, including Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Richard Hamilton and Allen Iverson. Wesley is a longtime client of Iverson and James's agent, the Philadelphia attorney Leon Rose. One of hip hop's biggest contemporary artists, Drake, gives Wesley a shout out on his popular diss track "Back to Back," stating "I learned the game from William Wesley, you could never check me," (the first verse in the song) exposing Wesley to a new audience. Wes was also referenced in Jay-Z's verse in the song Pound Cake / Paris Morton Music 2.
Wesley played high school basketball for Pennsauken High School in Pennsauken Township, New Jersey. Playing for rival Camden High School was Milt Wagner, who later went on to the University of Louisville and the NBA. Wagner claims that Wesley became his friend and confidant during high school, and that he introduced Wesley to Michael Jordan, among other pro basketball luminaries.
Involvement with current players and coaches
Wesley is involved with The Family, a Detroit-area youth basketball team supported by former Detroit Pistons guard Richard Hamilton, and counts among his closest friends Hamilton, Iverson, and Dajuan Wagner, the son of Milt Wagner and a first-round pick in the 2002 NBA Draft. All are clients of Rose.
Wesley was also very visible in the months leading up to LeBron James' defection from agent Aaron Goodwin. Goodwin, who signed James out of high school, had helped him earn a lucrative contract with Nike. James signed with Rose during the summer of 2005.
John Calipari has been quoted as saying, "Wes is a goodwill ambassador to our program.” After Kentucky claimed the title over Kansas, Kentucky Wildcats star Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist climbed into the stands and shared a celebratory hug with Wesley, who was sitting in the Kentucky family section inside the Superdome.
- Thamel, Pete. "Agency Role Could Limit Basketball Broker's Power", The New York Times, August 2, 2010. Accessed September 17, 2015.
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- Angel Diaz. "The Best Rap Verse of the Month". Complex. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
- Frantz Rocher. "Worldwide Wes - Every Pop Culture Reference on "Nothing Was the Same" - Complex". Complex. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
- Girard, Fred (May 29, 2005). "Who is basketball mystery man Wes Wesley?". Detroit News. Retrieved 2006-01-20.
- "William Wesley in the spotlight". ESPN.com. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
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- Alex French (July 1, 2007), Is This the Most Powerful Man in Sports?, Condé Nast, retrieved April 6, 2015
- John Canzano (April 2, 2012), No shocker, "Worldwide Wes" sitting over the shoulder of Kentucky's NCAA title run, The Oregonian, retrieved April 6, 2015
- Anthony Schoettle (The Score) (May 21, 2010). "UK's Calipari shows IU what it has in Cream". Indianapolis Business Journal. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
- John Rooke (March 30, 2013). "John Rooke - Thinking Out Loud". Go Local Prov. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
- TrueHoop.com William Wesley Section - A collection of theories & articles about William Wesley hosted on TrueHoop.
- 2001 New York Times Magazine Article - Feature on Dajuan Wagner that also prominently mentions Wesley.
- 2007 GQ Article - Comprehensive expose on WorldWide Wes
- 2008 New York Times Article On Wesley