Arn Tellem Rumors
Gores, the Detroit Pistons’ owner, pledged to raise $10 million toward relief efforts in Flint, through his FlintNOW Foundation. Arn Tellem, the former high-powered player agent who joined the organization last fall as Vice Chair of Palace Sports and Entertainment, was in Flint Friday meeting with philanthropic and charity organizations, and returned Sunday morning to meet with local leaders and hear presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who came to Flint and spoke at a local church. “We’re committed, starting with Tom,” Tellem said Sunday. “He’s a native. He’s deeply concerned about Flint, and cares about it. I can tell you that the entire organization, the coaches, the players, the entire staff at the Pistons and the Palace, we’re all committed to making a difference. This is not going to be a one-month effort of writing some checks. We’re going to be involved and continue to be of help and support to this community. It’s sustaining it, and we get that. And Tom’s committed, and I’m committed. Everyone that’s involved in this effort is committed to seeing it through.”
“Arn and the group that is sort of on the ground from Platinum Equity took a great deal of tine to come and meet with us and find out what was going on,” United Way CEO Jamie Gaskin said Sunday afternoon. “The commitment of $10 million is a commitment that will take place over time. We expect them to not only invest in the immediate recovery but the long-term health care fund that’s been set up for these kids, and even looking into and exploring economic development, because that’s such an important part of our community. Even with this tragedy and challenge, we have to have jobs. People have to live here. Our expectation is that they’re going to continue to stay plugged in here as they continue to make that longer term commitment.”
In a business where a lot of agent egos are as big as the players they represent, Tellem — while quite assured his position on his clients’ worth was the correct one — was able to do business relatively cordially with almost every team, and counted powerful executives like Jerry West as close personal friends. Players went to Tellem, wherever he was at a given moment. And when he left, they left. Agents used to recruit against WMG by saying Tellem had too many clients and could never pay enough attention to them. Now, they recruit against WMG by saying Tellem did all the work there. “It’s pretty simple — when you have a big agency and you have a legacy agent, the business with representation is based on the relationship,” an industry source said. “The longer you’ve been with a client, the less they care about what agency you’re with — they care about you.”
Rod Beard: NBA commissioner Adam Silver on #Pistons SAY partnership: “This is why we do what we do.” Adam Silver says academic goal of partnership is to create more like owner Tom Gores and Arn Tellem than more NBA players.
Baxter Holmes: Former Los Angeles Lakers executive Jerry West credited Kobe Bryant’s former agent for helping steer Bryant to the Lakers back in 1996. “His agent, Arn Tellem, told the New Jersey Nets [who had the 8th overall pick] he didn’t want to play there,” West said Thursday. “It was too close to Philadelphia, [Bryant’s hometown]. Other teams talked about drafting him, and we didn’t hear much talk about it at all. Then Kobe’s parents got involved, and he would really basically try to tell people that he didn’t want to play so close to his hometown. So to say that we did this on our own would be fiction. We had a lot of help along the way.”
For him the timing is perfect: One of his favorite all-time clients is being honored while he’s part of the organization. “Ben had a profound effect on this organization,” Tellem said. “He is the ultimate warrior. They talk about the Bad Boys, but I think that team with Ben and Chauncey were the heart and soul. They went to six consecutive Eastern Conference finals. There was really no top-five franchise player on that team. They just competed so hard and played so well as a team. “Ben embodied that spirit of sacrifice and doing whatever it took to win. When I talk to other players, everyone has such great respect for him, because it wasn’t about stats. It was about winning and playing tough and competitive. If you look over the history of the NBA over the last 35 years, that team to me is the most unique championship team of any NBA team.”