HANG TIME SOUTHWEST – From the good news file, Chris “Birdman” Andersen has been cleared of any wrongdoing after an extensive police investigation uncovered an elaborate scheme hatched by a 29-year-old woman in Manitoba, Canada, that ensnared Andersen.
To grasp the complexity of the case, Sports Illustrated’s Jon Wertheim has written a detailed account that is must-read material.
More than a year ago, with Andersen playing for the Denver Nuggets, local authorities searched Andersen’s house as part of an investigation related to their Internet Crimes Against Children unit. With a lack of details forthcoming, imaginations ran wild among the media. The Nuggets eventually released Andersen, and a cloud of suspicion hovered over him until Wednesday when it was learned that no charges will be pursued.
Andersen’s attorney, Mark Bryant told Wertheim:
“I can’t tell you how much Chris agonized over the label placed on him. This has had an extraordinary effect on Chris … He appreciates those who reserved judgment. He will continue to do what he’s always done in life and that’s turn something bad hopefully into something good.”
After the Nuggets waived him, Andersen was out of a job. The Miami Heat, desperate for big-man help, signed him on Jan. 20 and Andersen went on to play an integral role in helping the Heat repeat as champions. In July he was rewarded with a $1.7 million contract to stay with the Heat next season.
For one of the game’s all-time colorful characters, Wednesday’s news clearing his name might have been his biggest victory of all.