HoopsHype David Falk rumors

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March 6, 2011 Updates

David Falk: For the Air Jordan deal, I came up with the name “Air Jordan.” I had an extremely close relationship with Rob Strasser at Nike, who was the head of marketing, and I did all the deals. I wouldn’t let anyone in the firm do any deals, in any sport, for Nike yet. I understood what they wanted, what their MO was, and maintained that relationship. Donald had a very close relationship with adidas, and another gentleman in the firm, Lee Fentress, had a very close relationship with Converse. I was the young guy; I was looking for my own identity. I sort of found Nike when they were very small and grew with them. So, Michael came to Nike because of my relationship with Rob Strasser. Sole Collector

How much involvement did Michael have back then, as far as product and creative input? David Falk: Because Michael was a very bright guy, he listened a lot the first few years. I had a lot of involvement. Because Nike was so small and entrepreneural back then, with a lot of the early commercials, Strasser and I would literally sit down for like sushi and beer in Portland, and after a few beers, we’d get a little more creative. [laughs] I remember we did one commercial with the jet plane, and that was after our third whatever-beer-we-were-drinking in Portland. It was fun back then, because no one was doing that. No other young player had his own line. Bird didn’t have his own shoe, Magic didn’t have his own shoe, Dr. J didn’t have his own shoe – Bernard King, Isiah Thomas – none of the players had their own shoe. I think that created so much jealousy that was exhibited at his first All-Star Game, when Isiah froze him out, which he’s never admitted to, to this day. Some people at some point in their career say, “I admit I made a mistake. I did it.” Sole Collector

Do you have any stories of “disagreements” you and MJ might have had along the way over endorsements? David Falk: Oh, sure. Obviously, you don’t have relationships where you don’t have disagreements. Michael is an extremely bright, independently minded person. And I’m an extremely stubborn, [laughs] passionate person. I’ve told this story a million times. When he got involved with his gambling situation, and the story broke, I remember watching a game, and when the game ended, he got interviewed, and he was wearing sunglasses in the locker room. This isn’t Stevie Wonder, this isn’t Dennis Rodman, this is Michael Jordan. I flew out to Chicago right away. When I picked up the paper, I remember reading a quote from Jessie Jackson – this was at the very height of his power back then – and he was saying that Michael Jordan can associate with whomever he wants. No one can tell him who to associate with. I cringed. Sole Collector

David Falk: So I sat down with Michael, and I said, “Look, you haven’t robbed a bank; you haven’t killed someone; you haven’t committed a serious crime, or any crime. But you made a mistake in judgment. You hung out with people that have embarrassed you. What you should do is apologize.” He got really, really upset with me, and he said, “I knew you were going to say that. You always support the companies.” I said, “No, I’m not supporting the companies; I’m supporting you. You have a simple choice to make. If you want to be a role model, and you make a mistake as a role model, you need to come clean, fess up, and say you made a mistake in judgment. If you want to hang out with who you want to hang out with, that’s cool, too. Let’s cancel all the contracts, and you have free reign. You can hang out with drug dealers; you can hang out with pimps; you can hang out with whomever you want to. Don’t worry about what people think, because you don’t want to be a role model. But you can’t be both.” It’s the only time in my career that I was really worried that he would fire me. Sole Collector

David Falk: What I think is that athletes have the unique ability, when you’re making $100-plus million dollars, to impact a lot of situations charitably. Dikembe Mutombo is a role model who built a hospital in the Congo with $20 million of his own money. Antoine Walker made approximately what Dikembe made, and what’s his impact? What’s he going to be remembered for? Mutombo is going to be remembered as a humanitarian; he’s going to be remembered for the hospital; he’s going to be remembered for the finger wag, but he’s made an impact on society. People like Antoine could have made an impact in Chicago. He could have donated money for an athletic facility at his high school; he could have given money to inner city education, and instead, he’s going to be remembered for going bankrupt. It sort of fosters all the negative stereotypes of athletes, as overindulgent. And Antoine’s not a bad guy, but it saddens me greatly. Sole Collector

February 28, 2011 Updates
February 21, 2011 Updates

Falk also blamed the union for not cleaning up bribery and whatever else leads today's stars to other agents. "I've been through it in 1998, 2005," said Hunter at Sunday's game at Staples Center. "I've been around for 15 years and we got through it. "As a matter of fact, the owners are saying that the deals that we got were adverse to their interest. I don't take it as much. I just know we've got to be prepared to go through this." Los Angeles Times

October 22, 2010 Updates

No. 5 overall pick Jeff Green? Oklahoma City, as ever, has been exceedingly quiet about its intentions, but one source close to the process said this week that Thunder general manager Sam Presti and agent David Falk “aren’t close” to a deal despite maintaining a regular dialogue on the matter. The belief persists that OKC wants to save its money for next summer, when point guard Russell Westbrook is eligible for the sort of extension Durant just received. ESPN.com

October 21, 2010 Updates

Talk about your history in the shoe market. David Falk: The first really big breakthrough shoe deal was in 1982 when I signed James Worthy with New Balance. It was the largest deal in the history of the industry. Not the largest rookie deal — the largest deal. Obviously Worthy wore Converse, and as a rookie signed with New Balance. Years later, Michael Jordan came out and everybody knows he wanted to sign with adidas. He signed with Nike. The next year Patrick Ewing came out and he wore Nike in high school and college. He signed with adidas. When Allen Iverson came out of college, he wore Nike. We signed him with Reebok. You have to find the right match for these superstar players in terms of visibility, quality of the product, marketing support. There’s an art to try to marry the right player. Just like there is an art for an actor in finding the right movie. You don’t want to be typecast and want to find a role that shows the diversity of your talents. I think finding a signature shoe relationship requires a lot of talent. SLAM

You recently had your 60th birthday. You’ve done some great work for hundreds of clients. What are your goals moving forward? David Falk: I want to spend a lot more time with my existing clients. Behind the scenes, I try to help my prior clients transition into other business and give them advice. I’m not allowed to represent pro coaches or executives, so I can’t represent Michael Jordan or Patrick Ewing, John Paxson or Rex Chapman who all work in the League. They’re all valued friends to me and I still give them advice when they ask me. I want to try and have enough creativity left in me to do things that are unprecedented. I will take a look at it 10 years from now and see if I’m still having fun. SLAM

October 20, 2010 Updates

Green, who grabbed just two rebounds, said he's worrying about playing while his agent, David Falk, negotiates with Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti. It wouldn't be a surprise if negotiations were to go down to the wire considering the Thunder reached a deal to extend guard Thabo Sefolosha's contract just before last fall's deadline. "We value Jeff as a player and as a person, and we've had positive conversations,'' Presti said. "But, just out of respect to Jeff and the team, I just don't feel like it's appropriate for me to go any deeper than to say that Jeff Green is someone that we value and we're proud to have him as a part of our organization.'' FanHouse.com

October 19, 2010 Updates

Were you surprised at the level of anger from fans and comments from people within the League following his decision? David Falk: I wasn’t surprised at all. I was disappointed that it wasn’t handled better. I really like Maverick Carter. Maverick is not his NBA agent. In any situation when you’re going to exit, I think you have to stand up and tell the person in advance, ‘Hey, I’ve made a decision. You haven’t created an environment that is conducive to my success, so I’m going to leave.’ He has every right to leave. I just think there’s a certain level of respect, consideration and professionalism. And LeBron is a very professional guy and I don’t think he received very good advice in how to handle that situation. I think the show was a disaster. SLAM

Where do you see this going? Will there be a lockout? David Falk: I’ve said for the last year, it’s beyond my imagination that both parties can be dumb enough in the current economic climate with unemployment at 20 percent, more Americans under the poverty line than anytime during the last 60 years, that they’re going to complain that players making an average salary of $5.4 million aren’t compensated enough or that we should be crying for owners losing $10-20 million, who are billionaires. People can’t pay their mortgages, can’t keep their houses. I’ve told both sides in the strongest way that the collective bargaining negotiation is about creating rules that make the game better. If the game is better, both sides will prosper. In the court of public opinion, there is zero sympathy for fat cat players who want to make more money or fat cat owners who are losing money because they’re doing the kind of dumb things they did this summer. No sympathy at all. SLAM

What can you tell me about Worldwide Wes? David Falk: I’ve known him since 1986. I really like him. He’s a fun guy. He has great talent in brokering relationships. I think he’s probably better under the radar than in the radar. I think he knows that. I think the job he just took puts him more in the spotlight. SLAM

July 13, 2010 Updates

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