Bernie Lee Rumors
Bernie Lee: There is a segment of society who feels that NBA players and athletes in general should shut up and enjoy the lottery win in life they have been dealt. There are people who believe that all professional athletes trade their right to humanity for a paycheck. It has always been my position with the people I work with that the opposite is true.
Kevin O’Neill gets the job as head coach of the Toronto Raptors and a few weeks later I am at Five Star working what will be my last summer. Camp director Howard Garfinkel calls me over one day and says, “A very good friend of mine and someone who worked for me just got hired as the head coach in Toronto, where you are from…” I immediately get excited and say, “Wow, that’s great and can you talk to him for me?” Garf looks at me in his Garf way and says, ‘Of course I can, why the fuck do you think I called you over here… To brag?” Garf has a very unique way of speaking to people.
At the time, with my level of experience being minimal and being that I was Eminem in 8 Mile nervous talking to himself in the mirror, I was asked a question and I answered. I thought nothing of it. About an hour later, Kevin called me back and was already mid sentence when I answered the phone and before I can figure out what is going on I get the sense that he is pissed off. I picked this up because he’s cussing me out. “What the fuck are you thinking? You were told one simple thing to do and you can’t even do that? Do you think I would hire a person who can’t even follow directions?” I am stunned as I was given no directions, I am stammering for what to even say and it’s a mix of apologizing and trying to explain myself and Kevin cuts me off with, “Well, I wouldn’t hire anyone who can’t listen, so thanks for calling but the position has been filled.” And he hangs up.
When I started working in this business, I felt what made a good agent was being able to talk about the game and express informed opinions about it and my clients to the people I was trying to market them to. As time has gone on, I have seen that when an agent starts spouting off opinions or trying to display his inner Jerry West, it isn’t always as warmly received as the 23-year-old me would have thought. I have learned the more I can make my conversations about substance the more successful I will be – the substance being the intricacies of the NBA’s CBA.