William Wesley, the Detroit native whose connections throughout all levels of basketball have earned him the nickname "World Wide Wes," is close to formalizing an agreement with Creative Artists Agency to work for the company as an agent who will represent NBA and college basketball coaches, SI.com has learned.
According to three sources with knowledge of the situation, Wesley, 45, has been in conversations for several months with CAA, the multinational conglomerate whose expansive client list includes two of the basketball figures who are most often linked to Wesley, Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James and Kentucky coach John Calipari. One source with direct knowledge of the conversations indicated that the deal was "imminent" and would probably be signed in early June.
Wesley declined to comment for this story when reached by telephone Friday afternoon.
Wesley will focus mainly on representing NBA coaches but will also represent some college coaches as well. His decision to become an agent marks an uncharacteristic shift into a public role for a man who has long been content to operate behind the scenes. His profile has burgeoned in recent years as multiple media outlets have chronicled his story, connecting the dots between the young players he befriends and coaches with whom he is known to be particularly close. Wesley is also close friends with James's agent, Leon Rose, who like Wesley grew up in southern New Jersey. Rose heads up CAA's basketball division and has acknowledged being Wesley's attorney for more than two decades.
Wesley's entrée into the basketball diaspora dates back to his relationship with Milt Wagner, who played for a rival high school in southern New Jersey and later starred at Louisville. Wesley became godfather to Wagner's son, Dajuan, who played one season for Calipari at Memphis before going to the NBA. Through the years Wesley has befriended players like Rick Mahorn, Allen Iverson and Richard Hamilton, as well as more recent standouts like Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans.
Though both of those players went on to play for Calipari at Memphis, Wesley has developed many other friendships with college coaches across the nation. His relationships will ostensibly provide Wesley with a rich pool from which he can select his prospective clients for CAA. Moreover, although Wesley has repeatedly denied steering top high school players towards programs coached by one of his friends, that reputation could potentially work in his clients' favor if athletic directors believe that a coach represented by Wesley will have a recruiting advantage over his competitors.
A profile of Wesley published in the New York Times in 2008 quoted one college coach referring to him as "the most powerful man in all of basketball." A GQ profile published in 2007 was likewise headlined, "Is This the Most Powerful Man in Sports?" When Wesley's position with CAA is formalized later this spring, he will be even more powerful.