HOUSTON (CN) - A former NBA player backed out of a tour of U.S. military bases in Afghanistan, leading the military to cancel its contracts with the tour organizer, the company claims in court.
Pro Sports Marketing Ventures & Promotions dba Pro Sports MVP sued Damon Jones in Federal Court.
Jones played guard for 11 NBA teams from 1999 to 2009. He was known as a three-point specialist.
The Galveston native signed a contract on May 30 with Pro Sports MVP to tour military bases in Afghanistan, the Colorado-based company says in the lawsuit.
"Jones agreed to perform a variety of duties as a tour celebrity, which duties included meeting and greeting soldiers, signing autographs, posing for photos, visiting hospitals, engaging in question and answer sessions, and participating in interactive games, contests and skills competitions," the complaint states.
But on the eve of the tour, Pro Sports says, Jones said he would not be going because he had contracted to do commentary for games six and seven of the NBA Finals.
A few days later Jones changed his story, claiming a family member's illness prevented him from going, Pro Sports MVP says.
"Pro Sports MVP immediately requested from Jones documented proof of the alleged 'serious illness' suffered by an 'immediate family member,' as Jones was required to provide under the express terms of the agreement's cancellation clause," the complaint states.
The next day Jones faxed a 1-page document showing the family member had been discharged from the hospital on June 20, and released to return to work on June 21, Pro Sports MVP says.
The flight to Afghanistan was scheduled for that day but Jones "claimed he had been at his family member's bedside at a hospital in Galveston, Texas throughout the week and, therefore, had no intention of fulfilling his obligations under the agreement," according to the complaint.
Desperate to get Jones on the flight, Pro Sports says it rescheduled it for the next day, but Jones didn't show, saying he was still with his family member in Galveston.
But he wasn't, Pro Sports says.
"Contrary to defendant's claims that he was in Texas, Jones was in fact attending the NBA Finals in Miami, Florida that week. In fact, Jones was photographed attending the Miami Heat's championship victory party the evening of June 21, 2013, at a night club in South Beach, Florida," the complaint states.
Thanks to Jones, the U.S. military canceled other goodwill tour contracts with Pro Sports MVP, the company claims.
It demands at least $90,000 for breach of contract.
It is represented by Eric Howard with Howard & Jensen of Colorado Springs, Colo.