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Few in-house lawyers are fortunate enough to score a slot with a professional sports franchise. Kenneth Munoz, 51, is even luckier: His name is inscribed on hockey’s Stanley Cup trophy for 1994. That was the year the New York Rangers outlasted the upstart Vancouver Canucks to capture their first NFL championship in 54 years. Munoz, the former general counsel for Madison Square Garden, L.P. (MSG)-which owns the Rangers, the New York Knicks basketball team, MSG Network, and Radio City Music Hall-switched teams in May, when he signed on as of counsel with Chicago-based Sidley Austin Brown & Wood’s New York office. In his new job, he will continue to represent MSG and Cablevision Systems Corporation. Cablevision acquired 50 percent of MSG in 1995 and the remaining 50 percent in 1997. Cablevision is in a protracted struggle with Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network (YES). Munoz participated in the early stages of the dispute between MSG Network and the Yankees, when the baseball team wanted out of the contract agreement. In April, YES sued Cablevision alleging that the company had violated antitrust laws. Munoz, who graduated from New York University School of Law in 1975, played sports like most kids, but concedes he was never much of an athlete. After law school, he worked at Houston-based Fulbright & Jaworski’s New York office. “MSG was looking for a corporate associate,” says Munoz. “I had done some modest work for a large concessionaire company and for Ringling Bros. Circus.” He got the job. Signing with MSG in 1978, he joined another kind of (media) circus. In 1985 he negotiated Patrick Ewing’s rookie contract with the New York Knicks. Six years later, in 1991, Ewing tried to terminate the agreement. The Knicks believed he had four more years to go. Munoz participated in the litigation against Ewing, who was represented by New York-based Weil, Gotshal & Manges’s Jeffrey Kessler. The Knicks won. “The employment agreement I wrote was printed on the back page of the New York tabloids,” says the media-shy Munoz. “It was not a good moment for me. You don’t want to see work for your clients in the newspapers.” A better moment was getting his name etched on that piece of hockey history, an honor bestowed by the winning team at its own discretion. These days, Munoz represents investors shopping for major league clubs in various sports. He is also relying on contacts from over 20 years in the sports, television and theater businesses to build an entertainment practice. “Sidley made a very intriguing offer and gave me the chance to build an entertainment practice,” Munoz said. “It’s kind of unusual to get a new lease on life.” Goal!

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