By 1998 the Piggie situation had to be dealt with. There were too many powerful people of influence that had far too much to lose in order for it not to come down on Myron. This was larger than Kansas City. True power players in business and basketball could not let let Myron Piggie continue to thrive. His presence reflected their failures, inadequacies and lack on institutional controls. So the perception had to be built from all of the parties involved that Myron Piggie was a predator.
The public had to be convinced that all that ailed amateur basketball could be encapsulated in one being. Friends of the powerful took to mainstream media and labeled Myron a pimp who sought only to benefit himself from the talented youngsters he coached. The years he had poured into those kids in the relationships he developed would not be relevant or visible as his world came crashing down. When the establishment moved he was crushed under the weight of the system. He had no recourse.
One by one the people that it helped lift Myron up and turned on him after he was no longer useful to them. Subsequently, several high profile people benefited themselves through his coaching and and influence testified to federal authorities that Myron was paying players in violation of all sorts of NCAA regulations. Technically Myron pled guilty to one count of tax evasion and one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. If he was evading, then taxes where did the money come from that he was supposedly hiding? If he was committing mail fraud against universities then for what criminal purpose? The wheels of justice don’t always turn that slow, and the question remains… who set this all in motion?
Maybe it was Tom Grant that took Myron down? The Kansas City businessman who sponsored the organization and basketball team for which Myron coached paid him a weekly salary to be caretaker of the team’s star player all year round. After all, it was Mr. Grant who taped Myron and offered that tape as evidence to spark a federal investigation with the Western District of Missouri US Attorney’s office. Certainly when Mr. Grant and Myron parted ways in 1998 ending what had been a mutually beneficial arrangement it left Mr. Grant out in the cold as far as AAU relevance was concerned. A man of his stature and clout doesn’t take kindly to losing like that. So, taking out Myron might have been pretty appealing to a man so accustomed to getting his way to work.
It could have been his former Nike handler George Raveling or Nike itself who paid him for as a consultant coach and a brand ambassador that gave street credibility to the swoosh like no one else at the time could. No one need Myron in that way like George Raveling needed Myron. And no one was better served by distancing himself from Myron when things began to fall apart. Nike, completely desperate to find the next straight to NBA from high school college skipping superstar, saw Myron Piggie as their ticket to securing that person. Nike and Raveling were once so thirsty for Piggie they would switch their flights between summer tournaments to make sure they were on the plane with the team from Kansas City. Raveling and the status at Nike Myron helped cement for him ultimately sought distance from Myron to preserve his position. Raveling turned his back and acted as though he never knew who Myron Piggie truly was.
Of coarse the NCAA and a few high profile coaches and programs needed Myron to vanish as well. His success undercut their public perceptions of greatness via integrity, and his directness tainted their puritanical sense of amateurism. Certainly, nothing Myron was accused of doing during that time was new to that system, but Myron’s mere unabashed existence in that world diminished their inflated sense of legitimacy. Myron was the embodiment of the shady characters that everyone at Nike railed against in media, but behind the scenes embraced out of necessity.
Or maybe it was AAU basketball that wanted Myron out of the picture? He seized the opportunities presented based on the environment that already existed when he came on the scene. He played the game of assembling players and corporate sponsorship better than anyone at the time, but it wasn’t his invention. If only he had been
mildly successful, just an above average AAU coach it is unlikely Myron would’ve rocked enough boats to get himself into the trouble he eventually found himself.
Of coarse the NCAA and a few high profile coaches and programs needed Myron to vanish as well. His success undercut their public perceptions of greatness through integrity. his directness tainted their puritanical sense of amateurism. Certainly, nothing Myron was accused of doing during that time was new to that system, but Myron’s mere existence in that world diminished their inflated sense of legitimacy. To them Myron was both the embodiment of the shady characters that everyone railed against publicly, but continuously embraced in private out of necessity.
Looking back to the team itself Myron coached some of the talent which he coached for CMH includes names like JaRon and Kareem Rush, Earl Watson, Korleone Young, Cory Maggette, Ryan Humphrey, Mike Miller and several other D-1 scholarship players. The budget Myron was working with – thanks to Nike and Mr Grant – drew attention as the team came to be known as “Team Cash and Carry” on the circuit. Great players attracted more great players, but the consistently first rate travel accommodations didn’t hurt.
What would it benefit Myron to conspire with his star players to defraud high-level universities in the NCAA through the mail? Many have insinuated that the school or 3rd party representatives could have paid to make it worth Myron’s while to steer his players in a certain direction. The reality is if Myron had truly wanted to profit off of the kids that he coached they would’ve all going to Kansas and you would never know his name.
In the weeks ahead this site will become a vehicle to explore the entire story of Myron Piggie and you can make up your own mind. that he has to say to clear his name regarding these events. On this site you have links to the podcast which unfolds throughout the spring and by memorial day book a biographical work including Myron’s life and his time shaking up power centers of the basketball universe.
“9 out of 10 times, when the Feds knock on your door, they’ve already got you.” – Myron Piggie