Wednesday, 9 October 2013

This Day in Sports Law History: Blue Jays beat Celtics in Court over Danny Ainge

There are so many sports law stories from the past that I wish I had been around to cover.  Some are obvious - the Curt Flood case, for example -- others less so.

One of the latter is the early 1980s legal fight between the Boston Celtics and Toronto Blue Jays over which team had legal rights to employ Danny Ainge, a two-sport star who played for the Blue Jays but had been drafted by the Celtics.

The Blue Jays won a trial 32 years ago from today, but ended up working out a buy out with the Celtics enabling Ainge to join the green.  Ainge, of course, went on to an excellent NBA career and now runs the Celtics.  He's won NBA titles both as a player and general manager.  Looks like he made the right move switching to basketball, but as evidenced by there being a trial and lengthy settlement talks, it wasn't easy.

For a story on the trial, Anthony Cotton wrote this article for Sports Illustrated back in 1981.

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