On Tuesday night, Sports Illustratedpublished the findings of a months-long investigation into a pattern of misogyny and predatory sexual misconduct within the Dallas Mavericks organization. Included in the expose are multiple details about allegations aimed at Terdema Ussery, who was president of the Mavericks for 18 years.
During his time with the Mavericks, Ussery allegedly told a woman that she would be "gang-banged," put his hands on a woman's thigh without her consent and suggestively said to a woman, "seriously...just one time." One former Mavericks employee says that when she told her friends she'd taken a job with the team, she was told to watch out for the president. "Whatever you do, don't get trapped in an elevator with him."
According to the story, Ussery was investigated by the organization in 1998 after multiple women complained of his conduct. He remained with the Mavericks and stayed on as president when Mark Cuban bought the team in 2000.
Ussery denied the allegations made against him in a statement to Sports Illustrated, calling them "outright false and inflammatory."
The disturbing allegations paint Ussery in a starkly different light than did the glowing piece Sports Illustrated published on him in 1993—"In a League of His Own"— when he was known as one of the sports industry's brightest young talents. The investigation describes his reputation as a "marketing whiz who could sell with evangelical conviction."
Ussery, who grew up in the Compton/Watts neighborhood of South Central Los Angeles, graduated from Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 1981 and walked on the football team there. He would eventually serve on the university's board of trustees. Ussery graduated from U.C. Berkeley School of Law, where he served as executive editor of the California Law Review.
After graduating from law school, Ussery took a position with a high-profile law firm before embarking on a career in sports. In 1991, at the age of 32, he was named commissioner of the Continental Basketball Association. Two years later, he was named president of Nike Sports Management, a now-defunct division aimed at serving as the agents for Nike’s athletes. He left Nike to become president of the Mavericks in 1997 and was discussed as a potential future NBA commissioner. He left the team in 2015 and served as Under Armour's head of global sports categories for three months before resigning.