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NBA will pay two brothers $500m to get out of a crazy business deal made in 1976

The worst contract ever signed in sport.

Baller: Larry Bird, with Celtics president Red Auerbach, signs on with Boston in 1979.
Baller: Larry Bird, with Celtics president Red Auerbach, signs on with Boston in 1979.
Image: /AP/Press Association Images

THE NBA HAS finally broken free from what may have been the worst contract in the history of professional sport.

The NBA will pay two brothers $500 million to end a deal that required the league to give the former ABA owners an annual share of the league’s television revenue according to Richard Sandomir of The New York Times.

As part of the NBA-ABA merger in 1976, Ozzie and Daniel Silna accepted a share of the NBA’s “visual media” rights in exchange for folding their ABA franchise, the Spirits of St. Louis. The deal was to last “in perpetuity.” With the growth of the NBA and its television revenue, the brothers were receiving 1.9% of the revenue in recent years, or about $17.7 million annually.

There were also concerns that the amount would go up as the brothers were suing for a share of “visual media” that did not exist in 1976, including online broadcasts, the NBA’s own network, and international broadcasts.

According to the report, as part of the settlement, the brothers will still receive some television revenue as well as some revenue from the additional media mentioned in the lawsuit. However, there is a buyout clause in the new agreement which would allow the NBA to end the deal at any time.

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