Ex-NBA center Bill Cartwright backs out of basketball-centric high school project


bill-cartwright-sidellinesFormer Chicago Bulls player and coach Bill Cartwright said he has backed out of a project to build the Chicago Basketball Academy, a co-ed private boarding school geared toward training future leaders in the sports industry, ChicagoBusiness reported.

“After looking at it and analyzing the time I would have to put in, I just didn’t feel I could be a part of this right now, because of my schedule and commitment to my company,” he said in a statement today.

Mr. Cartwright, who also is chairman of his Park Ridge-based background investigation company Cartwright Downes Inc., had been a part of the project for about six months and was listed as the academy’s president on its website.

He declined to discuss specifics of the project when I wrote about it last week but said it was still in its early stages.

“Maybe it’s something I would pursue in the future,” the statement said.

Many details about the school are still to be determined, including where it would be located, where students would come from, how much it would cost to attend and how many students it might accommodate.

Mr. Cartwright was one of a few notable names said to be involved, including NBA veteran and Waukegan native Shawn Marion and Tim Grover, best known as the personal trainer for Michael Jordan and other NBA stars.

The academy enlisted Chicago architecture firm Perkins & Will to draw up a preliminary design for the building, which is an estimated 100,000 square feet and is shown on the group’s Facebook page.

Former Chicago high school basketball standout Damond Williams, who is leading the effort, confirmed Mr. Cartwright’s departure in a statement:

“Unfortunately, Chicago Basketball Academy could not come to terms (on) a governance agreement with Mr. Cartwright,” he said. “Along with this and other diminutive factors, (we) will have to move in a different direction.”

Mr. Williams said he expects to announce a new president for the effort early next year.

Cartwright won three NBA titles with the Bulls as a player and two more as a coach in the 1990s. He has coached elsewhere in the NBA since then and last year coached a professional basketball team in Osaka, Japan.

In his NBA career, Cartwright played in 963 games (676 started), averaging 13.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg in 28.5 minutes per game. Cartwright was also an NBA All-Star in 1980.

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