Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Miami lawyer is taking on the San Antonio Spurs, but it will be in a different court than the Spurs are used to seeing.
Lawyer Larry McGuinness filed a class-action lawsuit in Miami-Dade County that said Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, “intentionally and surreptitiously sent their best players home without telling the league, the Heat, or fans in attendance.
McGuiness claimed the Spurs violated Florida’s deceptive and fair trade practices law.
“You’re advertised to get one thing, and you get something totally different and that’s the nature of the lawsuit,” McGuinness told CBS4 News.
Click Here to see a copy of the lawsuit.
The lawsuit stems from the November 29, 2012 game between the Spurs and the Heat. A few hours before the game, Popovich sent Spurs stars Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli, and Danny Green home saying they needed rest after four games in five days.
“When you have a really good west coast team come into town and you don’t get to the see the entire bench, the bench is not there. Not in street clothes, there’s no medical reason for not being there,” said McGuinness. “Had the Spurs had their all-stars there, it would have made a difference in the competitive nature of the game.”
McGuinness claims that he and other fans were economically harmed because they had to pay a higher price for a ticket to a game against a marquee team. However, without the Spurs’ star players there, the premium ticket price shouldn’t have been in place.
NBA Commissioner David Stern, at the time of the incident, apologized to fans. The fact that Stern apologized could come back to haunt the Spurs, however the NBA is not named in the lawsuit.
The game was a nationally televised game between two of the league’s elite teams.
The NBA would go on to fine the Spurs $250,000 for their move of sending the star players home. It set a precedent that other coaches haven’t challenged since Popovich’s move in November.
Ironically, fans were treated to a good game as the Spurs nearly knocked off the Heat on Nov. 29, losing 105-100.
“You go to Morton’s, you go to Delmonicos, you order that porterhouse steak and pay $63 bucks for it and out comes a cube steak,” said McGuinness. “You’re not getting what you thought you were going to get.”
McGuinness said he didn’t file the lawsuit for financial compensation, rather the principle. He said whatever money he gets as a result will be donated to Hurricane Sandy relief.