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Ex-NBA star Pippen includes UT newspaper in defamation suit

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Published:   |   Updated: March 21, 2013 at 11:53 AM
TAMPA -

Former pro basketball star Scottie Pippen wants the world to know he isn't broke, despite what you may have inferred from articles in the University of Tampa's campus newspaper and other publications.

He's getting his message across in a lawsuit accusing The Minaret newspaper and website with negligence, defamation and characterizing him in a false light.

The suit, seeking no less that $1 million in damages and filed in Chicago, makes the same allegations against eight other media outlets, including CNBC and CBSSports.com.

The 17-page suit is based on similar articles from those outlets that allege Pippen and other professional athletes filed for bankruptcy or squandered away millions of dollars in earnings.

The Minaret story, published Nov. 11, was in an article with the headline: "How to Be an Athlete and Not Go Broke – for Dummies."

It leads with this paragraph:

"Mike Tyson has earned close to $400 million in his professional career. Scottie Pippen has made approximately $250 million. Evander Holyfield has grossed upwards of $225 million. These world championship athletes have one analogous trait in common; they have all reached the point of broke after their career has ended."

Many of the other articles listed in the suit specify that Pippen filed for bankruptcy. The UT article does not.

The suit says Pippen never filed for bankruptcy and has a "substantial net worth," which has not been less than approximately $40 million in the past 10 years.

The suit says Pippen has suffered "substantial monetary damages because since these false defamatory statements have been circulated worldwide."

Because of the stories, Pippen's offers for personal appearances and endorsements have dwindled "to a fraction of what they had been previously," he claims in the suit.

The suit, filed Tuesday by attorney Arthur S. Gold of Chicago, calls the media outlets reckless and malicious.

The University of Tampa has about 6,700 students. According to its website, The Minaret is the award-winning, student-run newspaper that distributes about 2,000 copies every Thursday on campus. An online version posts stories a day earlier.

According to the suit, the university owns and operates the Minaret, which claims to be the University of Tampa's news source since 1933.

Pippen played 16 years in the NBA, mostly with Chicago, where he won six league titles with Michael Jordan. He was a seven-time All-Star and his number was retired by the Bulls in 2005.

Besides UT, other defendants listed in the suit are Comcast Corp. and General Electric Co., owners of NBC Universal, owner of CNBC; CBS Corp., doing business as CBSSports.com; Arizona State University's nonprofit Foundation for a New American University; Yakezie Network, doing business as One Money Design; Mint Software Inc., doing business as Credit Net; InvestingAnswers.com; Sportsreport360; and Evolve Media Corp., doing business as hoopsvibe.com.

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