Thursday, March 30, 2017

swimming pools in andover

welcome to the massachusetts school of law'seducational forum i'm michael coyne the associate dean of the massachusetts school of law andyour host for today's show thanks for joining us stay with us as we have an hour of basketballtalk today we're gonna talk about the business of basketball the nba's big business the nbabrings in revenues of nearly four billion dollars a year forbes lists the value of thetop nba franchises like the knicks the lakers and the bulls as over five hundred milliondollars our poor celtics come in fourth at four hundred and fifty two million dollarseach of our four major sports leagues brings in billions of dollars in annual revenuessports and especially basketball with the olympics and more foreign players coming toplay in the nba is an international entertainment

business so with all this money why do oursports leagues have serious labor issues jan volk and frank catapano join us today to talkabout the business of basketball for over twenty six years jan volk helped run the bostonceltics he was part of five world championships and worked under basketball great red auerbachfrank catapano is a successful player agent and for many years has represented basketballplayers negotiating deals on behalf of players like dana barrows chris heron and john bagleyjan talks about his favorite part of running an nba franchise well i think it's probablythe same for any side of it and that's winning you know it's a the the uh the aspect of thebusiness uh is uh so interrelated with the team and the and the uh success or failureon the court that it's part of the immediate

feedback you get uh when you're uh when you'rewinning or losing so that uh business the business of sports is so different it's gota lot of similarities to traditional businesses but it's very different in other ways whereyou get that kind of immediate feedback on how you're doing based on he standings inthe uh in the uh on the sports page so uh i would say that uh the vicarious involvementuh in the business in the team are so interrelated and very rewarding frank uh for me it's neverbeen the business because it was it was an avocation rather than a vocation and uh forme the enjoyable part has been the relationships i developed with some of the players i representedthat that really have lasted a long long time i enjoyed getting a player who wasn't at thetop and getting him an opportunity and the

seeing him develop and help him take a stepfurther uh by giving him good advice so that's really not necessarily the business end ofit the business obviously from an agents stand point is getting him a contract and that'ssort of cut and dried really i think it's based on how good a player is and who wantshim at any particular time when his contract is up but i would say my greatest enjoymenthas been the relationships and i still have some uh terrific relationships with guys irepresented and i've seen some of them do really well and of course some of them haven'tdone well i want rebuttal time sure you know that causes me to to to reassess your questiona little bit because while winning is important and it is part of the business that uh isa little different than you might have in

another business i i tend to uh agree withfrank in that you build a you build relationships in that business but in the team context teamon the floor team in the front office that are unique and uh you forge those kinds ofbonds that are very very strong and last a long time in the celtics we had a very unusualcircumstance we found out anybody who worked for the celtics for any period of time foundout that no matter how good you were no matter how much success you had red auerbach wasgonna get the credit and that's just the way it was and if you could deal with that andanybody who worked for any period of time had to it changed the way in which you workedtogether it's amazing what you can get done when you're not worried about who's gonnaget credit 'cause 'cause you know who's gonna

get it when red's around in the end absolutelyso you're always out for everybody's best interest and you are really pulling togetherin that environment so that's really something that uh that i think was unique with thatparticular team that particular organization i don't know that that exists at anyplaceelse but i was very fortunate for a long time that was the environment that i worked inand the people that i worked with we all shared that that feeling the only way we were reallygoing to get individual success was in a collective sense by winning and succeeding and we knewthe only way to do that was to pull together so it was a it was a very positive experienceand for most of your twenty five years there you worked with you're gonna short changeme they're not gonna take any money back 'cause

they're twenty six years let's not you knowi'm not giving any of that back for that time what was he like to work as uh the leaderof the organization uh he's very different he was very different than his public personauh certainly a very uh tough minded guy very demanding of of those who worked for and playedfor him uh but there were there were aspects of his uh uh personality that were hiddenfrom view uh one of the things that people don't expect a person with the success thathe had and the ego that he needed to have to have that success was the fact that heknew what he didn't know and he knew he needed to have people working for him that did knowthose things to make him complete to make the operation complete so if he hired youand as he diid with me uh he let me do my

job for the most part uh obviously he hadvery high standards and we had to meet those standards but he felt uh which i think isalso unusual amongst people of of his success over a long period of time he knew that ifyou were afraid to make a decision 'cause you were afraid of making a mistake becauseyou were afraid that he was going to come down on you in the end you'd probably do nothingwhich is worse than just than doing the wrong thing that is by itself the wrong thing youhave no chance of succeeding so he was very tolerant of uh people going out acceptingresponsibility and and trying to do the job if you didn't do it well and there are someexceptions where i i had some difficulties with red in on in in those line uh aspectsbut for the most part if you uh you didn't

do it he would point it out to you and notin a threatening way and expect you to do better the next time as long as you didn'tmake the same mistake twice you were ok now in that type of environment where winningevery year really was expected is that good or bad for it's great business for businessi i think for it was excellent i think when you're held to a high standard by others outsideof your organization you yourself always want to have your own standards be high but ifother people uh have those views and they feel that you're worthy of meeting those highexpectations that's a that's a real plus let me let me turn just quickly to the uh your1986 team which some call the finest team ever constructed and you were the principalarchitect of that team i was very much involved

as i was all the time i was there uh it wasa collab everything we did was a collaborative effort unless of course red did it in whichcase red did it but uh it was always a collaborative effort what i and i understand the modestybut many attribute the success of that team or the building of that team to your leadershipduring that period and many of us think of it as the finest nba team ok i won't argueok what does it take to build a team like that and to have such great success and thento sit even what twenty five years later for people to say wow that was an absolutely marvelousjob constructing that team well if you look at that team that the core team in '86 wasthe core of that won in '84 to a large degree was the team that won in '81 so uh it wasn'ta start from scratch operation what we had

done was took the team that lost in the finalsin '85 who had won in '84 lost in six games in '85 and tweaked it a little bit with acouple of really good players and uh so but who'd you add i mean those we added bill waltonwe added jerry sichting to a to a team that was uh was was darn good any way and uh sowe were uh we just we just added two really really good players to a team that was outstandingto start with so we were we were in a good position one we traded for one actually wetraded for both of them one was uh a free agent that we ended up making a deal for theother was a trade bill walton was a trade jerry sichting was a free agent now when you'rebuilding a team like that with so many diverse personalities it must be tough to get themto gel properly to work as a team and to work

as uh an entity that can be successful wellit wasn't it wasn't very hard for that team uh i i know the more recent example wouldbe what the celtics did in uh '07 '08 uh where uh two exceptional players joined an alreadyexceptional player in in paul pierce when garnet uh and ray allen arrived that was probablya more difficult uh transition than what we had because we had the core players we hadbird and parish and mchale dennis johnson and uh danny ainge all there all playing thesame starting five uh the first three off the bench two of them were new and uh theone that i suppose was the only one that we were really might of had some concern aboutwas bill walton because he had always been a starter uh he had had great success althoughnot been on the floor enough he had been injured

uh to a large degree i think the most he hadplayed was sixty five games in a season prior to coming to us in that year he played eightycould have played eighty two we had an injury that we kept him out for if it were a playoffgame we probably would've played him uh so he uh he he you know it's like damn yankeeshe uh he may have sold his soul to the devil got a good year out of him uh but he camereally wanting to win a championship it was he was very highly motivated and if he everstepped out of line and occasionally he did 'cause he can be a pain in the butt and i'vetold him that to his face larry was there to put him right back in in in line and didthat on a number of occasions larry was a very strong influence on everybody who playedon that team is that your favorite team from

the time you were with them i mean that'sthe ring that's the championship ring you're wearing right it is the championship ringi wear and uh i i it's it's like you know children and how you you you love them allfor different reasons and nothing will for me replace winning my my it's not but ourfirst championship while i was involved in the seventh game in 1974 that has particularappeal 1976 has appeal with the triple overtime game a against phoenix so there are lots ofreasons uh '81 was extraordinary we came back from down three to one with philadelphia uhso that was another one that was was extraordinary '84 was a seven game series after we had fallenbehind to the lakers and really looked to the rest of the world as though we were thatwe were done uh so there's a reason to love

them all frank when you're advising a playerwhether to sign with a team or to discuss signing with a team do the does the prospectof championships uh does that really factor into it or is it more often about money andyears that that many players are really worried about well i i haven't had a free agent thetimes i've represented nba guys that was really courted particularly by a championship contenderi've had a couple of players play for a championship teams but i've never had a player that wascourted i think in if that opportunity came it certainly would be a factor 'cause mostof the guys want to play on a championship team if they can i just have never had thattype of player at that type at that time that was such an impact and was available let meask you guys whether you think sort of the

notion of what i'm gonna call the big threeuh our big three that jan already mentioned uh but i'm thinking more of uh the playersthat decided in the last off season to to join and really make a run from the southat uh at uh championship i think that's a good thing for the nba isn't it that we havethese star players these groups join together and now we've got pockets throughout the countrythat when we look we've got some real star groupings or is that not good for competitiongenerally i'll volunteer my thought i i think that uh in today's nba it is good for it it'snot what i like about the nba uh back in the late '80s i thought it started to become likedisney land or the world wrestling federation where they create stars with names and imagesand before that like with the celtics big

three with with the lakers they had a bigthree i guess you'd call worthy johnson and uh and kareem a big three sure those guysreally didn't uh negotiate their way into those situations i i think trades were madefor abdul but the celtics really and they traded for parish but i don't think they werethinking of it let's get three comic book characters together and market them todaythe nba is a very different world i worked for the guy who did the the really the firstcollective bargaining agreements when i got into sports larry fleisher and i think larrywas the most brilliant of any of the leadership of the players association i think he wasas smart or smarter than anybody in the nba at the time but larry never thought aboutmarketing and i think that's where david stern

has changed the whole thing around from mystandpoint i would rather i like the competition of basketball i do not like the entertainmentuh values of it i like people to know why they're going to a game to see a team winor lose not to have a t-shirts shot up into the audience via cannon and quite franklyred auerbach's theory of cheerleading and all the rest of this i i'm sort of an oldfashioned guy like that so do i i think it's part of what's the nba's about today and ithink that's what creates the dollars so yes i guess it's important i don't enjoy thatpart i would look at it from a slightly different point of view i think that uh pat riley anduh his people did a masterful job doing what they did uh having said that viscerally itbothers me because it really although it was

it it was facilitated by the team somethingand i can't really quantify it or express it as as clearly as i'd like bothers me aboutplayers putting together teams and uh just i'm going back to what frank said i'm i'mmuch more of a traditionalist i i'm not a real big fan of cheerleaders and certainlynot a fan of t-shirts being uh catapulted into the stands i i think there's a there'sa reason to be there watching games and that's probably not high on my list and may be thedifference between the regular the fan that loves the game for the game itself and thosethat are us that look as much as entertainment but strong knick team great couple great teamsin florida celtics the lakers seems like the playoffs should be pretty exciting it's addeda team to the mix but at the same time detracted

maybe two teams from the mix sure uh clevelandhas dropped out and uh toronto would have been better had uh bosh not left uh so yesthere's there's there is a story there uh there was a story last year i i i was listeningon my way up to a uh one of the talk show radio uh uh shows uh probably my error todo so but uh talking about the nba saying you know in the nba you know the better teamsthe the best teams get to the finals anyway it's not a surprise and so forth well whenthey're doing that when they're making that assessment they're making that assessmentgenerally after the fact and looking and saying ok the two best teams are in the finals uhi don't think anybody would uh in anticipation of last years season uh last years playoffswould've said the celtics at that particular

point going right into the playoffs wouldhave been called the best team in the east 'cause you had cleveland with a sixty plusuh win season coming in with great expectations you had a terrific uh uh season for orlandowho also had great expectations so uh there's competition there's always competition theythey you you forget after te fact 'cause you know who won uh going into it i think therewould have been plenty of competition so so do you guys object when the highly skilledveteran takes a huge pay cut and comes to the celtics to make that last minute championshiprun i mean is that improper no and that's not what i'm saying no i didn't say that eitherwe we were talking more about when a guy gets huge money and they form a team together i'mwith jan on that lebron james didn't take

a cut in pay really no he didn't and i don'tthink bosh did either neither did and and and carmelo anthony won't and stoudemire didn'tno and and uh uh dwayne wade who was the incumbent there was not under contract he probably tooka couple hundred thousand dollar cut that that's yeah in the scheme of things in thescheme of things but we brought walton we brought bill walton in sure he initiated thatconversation he was for a brief period of time he had a window of opportunity he hada one month free agent uh window of opportunity where he came and talked to us and duringthat time we made a decision that we were going to pursue it and we were going to tradefor him or at least try to uh that was precipitated by him and no i have no misgivings about thatat all but he also did not come for a lot

of money and maybe that's uh keeping withwhat you were just saying a player comes for less the scenario you're talking about isreally you have three very very highly paid max contract players in miami the rest ofthe players are either on mid level exception or uh uh on uh minimums let's move it a littlemore to the business side and the players salaries and the like the players in the nbaare the highest paid professional athletes of the of our four major sports averagingabout five and a half million dollars in salary a year uh the nba itself brings in four billiondollars a year with such enormous revenues why why do all of our sports leagues havesuch serious labor issues as far as the nba goes i i don't know that it's a serious laborissue i think everybody's happy with the labor

aspects of it i think the question is thedollars and i think what's happened is uh and it could be economic based i'm not sure'cause i haven't really checked the attendance and what's going on with each individual teambut nba teams are not making money and now from what i hear and it's a lot of this isurban legend i'm not saying i have facts or figures you can't sell these teams for thesame money that they were selling for two years ago and they're not getting the increasein value every year so when owners were into these teams to get an increase for instancethe celtic owners paid i think approximately three hundred and fifteen thousand three hundredand fifteen million dollars in the past that might be worth they've had it for like fiveyears now six years i think it's longer than

that seven years or eight years whatever they'vehad it for it probably would be worth four hundred and fifty million that's the numberi've seen by forbes yeah i doubt it's worth that right now i i don't what what are youbuying yeah forbes reports the celtics as of last year as being worth four hundred andfifty two million the fourth highest uh valued franchise in the nba well i didn't see anybodystepping up to offer them the money for that maybe it's not for sale i don't know but ithink the owners would listen well the point you the point is still though your initialpoint is the nba is losing money as an entity it lost somewhere between three and four hundredmillion dollars that's the figure that the nba is putting out i i don't know how accuratethat is it's accurate to the extent that that's

what they're saying that's what they've reportedand uh i'm sure they'll all get into going to the books which they always do but i thinkthey feel they can't sustain the salaries anymore and you know it's interesting youmentioned the average salary i've always represented uh the workman like players including haywoodworkman so uh and those guys are not averaging five million dollars a year the mean is wellbelow five hundred million dollars i dare say it's more like two hund two million andless and i know that doesn't make anybody cry that's a lot of money still a lot of moneyto play a game yes but uh it's the real the stars are really making the big money andso uh i think i think what the nba is probably trying to get at and i could be wrong is toget the stars money reduced so you're not

paying these outrageous amounts to certainplayers and maybe level off the league a little in that regard i i can't really say you knowone of the things we're not really we get as an nba agent we get little uh notes aboutwhat's going on in the collective bargaining but for the most part they're really not anythingspecific uh it's sort of like to keep us quiet and keep us to the side it's being negotiatedby billy hunter and uh jeff kessler and uh whoever else at the players association isdoing the negotiation and we're not really privy to the inside stuff and nor nor arewe supposed to talk about it so you can't talk to me about whether you think a hardcap is likely to be oh i could tell you what i would prefer but i can't tell you what'slikely 'cause i really don't know what what

is the hard cap versus soft cap issue wellif if it's a soft cap you're going to have continuing increased salaries with mid levelexceptions and there's all kinds of ways around the cap you've got the bird exception whichallows you to sign your players you have on your roster uh for a certain amount of timeto whatever you want to keep them uh although that's been reduced also the last time aroundbut i think the hard cap is basically what football has and what hockey has and i thinkthat's really what the nba probably would like to see i don't know if that's realisticbut i think that's where they're trying to head but i don't think the cap matters asmuch as the sharing of revenue how much of the revenue are the payers going to get andhow much are the teams going to get and that's

really what it all comes down to you can usecaps and all these other things but you know if if at the end of the year you know youhad a good year if at the beginning of the year you had one dollar and at the end ofthe year you had ten you know you made ten grand uh and i think that's really the bottomline to all this who's getting what share of the revenue and i think that's what thebattle's going to be about in my opinion but i don't even know that for a fact i'm sortof just talking like i do on any business deal i've i've heard this before not thesewords but this same concept do you think that the issues will be able to be resolved sothat everyone uh is relatively happy with the the the future of the nba between theplayers and the owners i certainly hope so

the nba is in the business to play basketballputting on basketball games the players are in the business to play basketball eventuallythey will get it right but it may be uh it may be painful and may take some time whenyou said will everybody be happy ii think the make up of the different sides of thisissue there are some people that are never going to be happy no matter what the dealis sure so i think everybody's not going to be happy the question is does it work forboth sides frank mentioned larry fleisher i i think it's it might be might be a goodthing to go back a little bit in time sure and in 1983 the uh nba and the players associationwere at the end of a collective bargaining agreement they had actually extended it ayear i believe but they were at a point where

they had not made any progress and larry fleisheruh gave the league notice that if there were not if there had not been a new agreementin place by uh march thirty first of that year just about the end of the season uh therewould be a strike and of course it was a brilliant uh the timing was brilliant on uh larry'spart because uh in normal course players contracts are paid over six months starting in octoberand they had been completely paid all the players had been paid under their contractsthey hadn't yet played the playoffs and made their playoff monies which depending on howfar they go is generally a step down in terms of game per game costs but the team makesa lot of money but the team but for that reason the teams make uh a fair amount of money souh up against that deadline the players association

and the nba reached an agreement two or threedays before that deadline and they instituted for the first time what it we now call thesalary cap it was i don't know six or seven iterations ago uh it's been uh it's been uhmodified and refined but what happened was larry fleisher had shown as frank referredto the books and he was a very smart guy but he was also a courageous guy he looked atthem and he realized that we had a very serious problem here for the league for the continuedsuccess of the league there were five teams that might not open the next season and whathe recognized as rational people would but not necessarily those in the midst of thiskind of a uh uh adversarial negotiation uh he realized that if the league fails the playersfail they're too tied together if the if the

league can't succeed the players can't succeedeven though they have contracts that say they're worth they're getting a lot of money nobody'sthere to pay 'em it doesn't do them any good so he was willing to take that step and itwas a courageous step there had been no salary cap in any sport up 'till then and he wasuh party to a very innovative approach uh that's maybe the kind of situation we're innow we don't have the strike uh scenario we may have a lock out scenario and and hopefullypeople can do the same things that larry did which is larry fleisher did which is to goand look at understand it and take a bold step is it uh in order to be successful youdon't have to be successful competitively in the nba isn't that correct to be financiallysuccessful or do they go hand in hand i mean

well the celtics have had great success atboth look at it this way there are thirty teams in the league on any given night nomore than fifteen of them can win their games right okay they're playing against each otherso competition is all in the eyes of the beholder some teams go into seasons with great expectationsand fail and some teams go in with low expectations don't succeed on an abstract basis but succeedin comparison to those expectations and they're successful so it's really it really variesfrom team to team year to year but teams can be successful in an economic situation wherethey might not be viewed as succeeding in a competitive situation but in the long runthey need to have hope there needs to be the possibility of success competitively i thinkto sustain uh economic success does the other

way work as well as that a team could be highlysuccessful on the court but financially it's just costing them too much to win absolutelyand there are teams like that we talked about the business model of of sports as comparedto uh what would be a more traditional business the measure of success uh for a sports teamis not necessarily the bottom line on the p and l statement right often is the top linein the standings in the sports page that's a there's a there's a regular conflict betweenthose two and it's very hard to succeed uh regularly on a competitive basis if therearen't other uh factors playing a role the cap for example that keeps them in in somesort of economic uh fiscal sanity uh eventually it uh it it it teams tend to overspend andthat is exactly why a cap is uh is appropriate

for the nba and for most sports teams becausethe measure of success is not usually an economic one or at least not in the short term it'soften on the court there's on one case that i think jan might have uh either not broughtup or didn't think about or he ignored i'm not sure which but the the los angeles clippershave historically been it's been said and i've never seen their books so this is againyou you're talking without knowing exact facts but donald sterling it never stopped us beforehas been reputed to make a lot of money from this thing but never looked to win particularlyto win now i don't think if you ask donald sterling and i don't know donald sterlingwould you like to win i'm sure he'd say he would but the question is has he done thethings that it takes to win and has he continually

done them to get where he should be in termsof winning that's i don't think that's been a big issue with him i think he's made a lotof money owning the los angeles clippers whether it be from profits yearly or from what he'sgonna sell it for compared to what he bought it for and you know he's supposedly a verygood business man real estate wise out in that area so that's one guy who i don't thinkreally ever worried that much about winning but that's a very unusual circumstance yeahi would say he's the only one right and the reason that he can do that is because of wherehe is they play in the same building as the lakers who bang out that building game aftergame after game at a very very high average ticket price the clippers benefit from thatboth from two points of view one is their

prices are more reasonable and two the demandis not as high but it's still high enough that he generates revenue and he keeps hishe keeps his uh payroll down and it's somebody it's an example of how you can do that buti don't think you can do that other places i think this is a unique situation where uhthey are really uh there's a lot of lift that they get from the lakers success it'd be interestingto see if over a two or three year period if the lakers were not competitive whetherthe clippers would be able to sustain the same kind of economic benefits now you'vebeen on opposite sides of the table at times negotiating player contracts uh what typeof player do you find is the best to negotiate with or in your time period with the celticswere there some that were particularly difficult

negotiations or did larry ever negotiate hisown contract he never uh fired or released his agent bob woolf but he was very activein later negotiations he was very much part of it uh and uh that's understandable he wasa smart guy and he was uh he was very concerned about his own uh economic well being as asone would expect i remember the last contract we negotiated with larry i think he had twoyears to go on the contract that he was currently under and uh we talked about a three yearextension beyond those two years so at the time we would sign him he would have excuseme five years going forward and he uh he wanted a number it was four and a half million dollarsnow in this context that sounds like a bargain but that would have made hinm the highestpaid player in the league and i'm not gonna

say we balked at it but we were concernedabout it because there were injury issues there were issues about whether or not hecould fulfill that five years and so we talked about it and larry said you're right you'reabsolutely right if i cannot play if i can't play to my ability i'm not worth that butif i can i'm worth every penny we got a deal and the fact is he retired with two yearsleft to go on that contract he was good to his word when he didn't feel he could playanymore he walked away he did not get paid which is very very unusual right not a lotof players would walk away from that type of money no no and he had said he would dothat up front and he did frank what type of players are the best to negotiate with onon their behalf well the player who listens

to what you tell him is regarding his valueand what the market is and and doesn't listen to everybody around him including other agentswho are trying to steal him from you and unfortunately there's a lot of that that goes on in thebusiness and there is also a lot of people put values on themselves that they get fromother people or they look at somebody on another team and they don't understand the timingof their contract who's interested and who's not interested and i lost a client years agoi'm not going to mention the name because i was negotiating for two particular pointguards well the agent got my lesser point guard because he kept telling him well frank'snot really interested in your contract he's interested in the other guys contract becausehe's gonna make a lot more money the truth

was the teams i was talking to for each ofthem were totally different because the teams that were interested in the higher paid playerthat was david wesley were not interested in the other player they were looking fora sure starter the other teams were looking for a back up guy and you know everyone thinkshe's a starter a lot of guys think they're better than they are and especially when theirwives friends family and some other agent are telling them different and that happensa lot now the whole uh notion of negotiating is it all just about the years and the dollarsor are there other deals i'm thinking about has the whole notion of endorsements and thathas changed dramatically over the last three or four decades well from my standpoint theplayers i represented was years and dollars

uh i didn't have the kinds of players whogot a lot the only player i ever had who made a lot of money on endorsements and he wasa very unique player was manute bol and he made money for other reasons and he was agreat guy but sometimes very uncooperative in making that money how so well a lot oftimes the players don't want to do the things they have to do to make the money and in orderto become really good at business when you're making five thousand here three thousand hereten thousand here you've got to be a very willing participant in what you're doing orthe marketing people get sick of you real fast uh he didn't have the kind of name andand you can see that even from the only big man that i've seen in in the last thirty yearsmade tremendous money marketing is shaquille

o'neal but his personality is that he doesthat kind of thing he enjoys it he's like a muhammad ali but not in terms of shootingoff his mouth but using his mouth to get endorsements and talking things up and he's a very friendlygiant that kind of thing uh most of the guys don't want to do that and shaquille's oneof the few big men who's made a lot of money doing endorsements on a regular basis a lotof the players don't want to deal with that the the endorsement part of the business forsome athletes now is going to pay them more than the team will when i was uh involvedthis was not the opportunities were not what they are now there were opportunities forsome players but there were not uh those types of opportunities and larry was the most larrybird was the most likely uh candidate he was

very selective about what he did and he didnot do a lot but when he did they were generally pretty well done uh he had a couple of uhhe had a converse uh uh contract and that ran a number of years he did uh some commercialswith magic and then he also had some commercials with michael jordan uh for mcdonalds and hehad a couple of others but he was not uh he wasn't he wasn't as interested in doing thatmaybe as some of the others shaq you know i get the impression that if shaq weren'tdoing it for money he'd be doing it anyway you know he's a he's very refreshing to watchit's uh it's a very interesting he's got a very interesting personality do you miss beinginvolved with managing a team and actually being there night in night out to to participatein their victories and defeats in the victories

yes the defeats no if i could pick and choosei'd be i'd be back in a minute you know it's a very different it's a it's a way of lifeit is not a uh it's it's not a seven day a week job you know it's a twenty four hourseven day a week job you're on duty all the time and it's it's a very intense positionif you're not doing that on a regular basis you're not in shape to do it uh to just pickit back up so uh but i i would say i i said many times while i was working for the celticsand i did work for denver after that and atlanta after that so i did uh i've seen other organizationsand i certainly am uh it was uh confirmed in my in my appreciation of what it was liketo be working for the celtics uh without any knock on either of those organizations butuh but simply by comparison uh but uh it was

uh it was it was a great job and i said onoccasion i had the best job in america i know i had the best job in america except for maybeten days a year which were unbelievably pressure filled i they often had positive results whichyou'd feel really good about but there were ten days a year which were just immenselystress filled frank when you talk to the young men entering the business of the nba whatwhat's the best advice you can give them with respect to how to handle themselves or howto handle their money or how to take care of business well i'll make it real simplei don't i don't have a lot of the big timers anymore but if i did my my advice on whatto handle their money is put it in the bank at least for three years uh let your agenttell all your family and friends uh budget

the money the first year you want to spendten percent on family and friends no more and let the agent say everything else yougotta talk to my agent and and the agent tells him it's all in cds five year cds that youcan't touch it that would be the best way because an unknown figure that's out therenow is that sixty percent of nba players are bankrupt by five years after they've finishedtheir careers sixty percent that's an awful lot and i don't think it's unaccurate i'vehad a generally speaking a really pretty nice group of guys and i would say most probablyfifty to sixty percent of them have gone broke and not through any fault of mine uh throughtheir own fault because unfortunately they don't listen and the advice i always givethem is have get somebody who gives you an

honest judgement of where you are when whenthey start representing you in terms of ability where your potential lies and that personhas you gives you the things to work on to improve and get better and generally speakingthe guys can improve and get a lot better if they do those things but i've had i'd sayi've represented probably two hundred and fifty players over the years maybe more andenough guys who've been in the nba maybe thirty five i would say the most successful guyshave been the guys who maximize their ability and i could tell you one of them was michaeladams another one was sam mitchell who was also coach of the year at toronto anotherone is scotty brooks who was coach of the year at oklahoma uh another one david wesleythose were the guys who maximized their ability

another fellow who did pretty close to thatwas sidney lowe 'cause his ability wasn't as high as some of the others and sidney'sbeen the coach at nc state he was a head coach in the nba if you look at those guys the guyswho maximized their ability all of them are financially responsible at this date a lotof the other guys and i don't some of them are terrific guys and i think they're tremendouspeople did not maximize their ability as a result of a lot of things that come into playpersonal things childhood a lot of things that nobody considers so to me save everydollar you get and i'm gonna say something that most agents would say you were crazyi wish i'd deferred fifty percent of every dollar my guys ever made because even thoughthe the mantra is current dollar value of

a contract the truth is when they get it whenthey're too young the blow most of it and i'd rather have money worth fifty percentof what it was worth the day he signed his contract fifteen years later because you'dhave something so those are you know i think they're real simple rules but i don't thinkanyone follows them and most people don't pay any attention to them uh jan you teachthe business of sports to your students at tufts i try you have an awful lot of experiencein the business by the way he teaches a great course and his students are very very welllearned about the issues one of my guest lecturers right here he i i marvel at his ability todo all the detail stuff he does what's the best advice you can give your students i meaneveryone wants to get into the business aspect

of sport as well we have a lot of law studentshere that want to you guys both went to law school so you've got that benefit of thatexperience i mean what what skills does someone need to be able to succeed in that aspectwell if i had a real you know absolute answer tried and true i'd be uh i'd be selling iton uh somewhere on the internet is uh you know how to get into the nba there reallyisn't a uh there are ways you shouldn't you shouldn't uh try but there's no real clearpath to a jobs in in uh sports it is uh the demand is extraordinarily high when i startedit was i was extraordinarily lucky to be in a situation where i wanted to be doing somethingthat not a lot of other people did and uh so there was not the same uh demand i didnot have the same competition initially that

uh ultimately uh is there now and has beenthere for awhile i probably if i had seen my resume when i was with the celtics if ihad seen my resume without my name on it just looking at what i had done and would've presentedi probably would not have hired me and the reason for that is uhb something that i thinkdoes apply to to law students and and uh lawyers i don't think i would've uh would've hireda lawyer to do the job that i did when i started and i started on an entry level job uh insports for the most part job opportunities with some rare exceptions are entry levelyou have to pay your dues without a lot of uh probability without a great probabilitythat you're gonna step up in the organization or step up very quickly uh so i would've lookedat my resume and said oh he's a law grad he's

a lawyer he's not gonna be happy you knowselling tickets he's just not gonna be happy doing that i probably would move on to somebodyelse and that's a little depressing when you look at it from that perspective the uh thething what i tell students which may not be applicable to our audience here uh is thatif you're going to get an opportunity the best way to do it is through an internshipwhere there is not a commitment by a team where there isn't in all probability a financialuh requirement on their part and you go in and you do the job whatever it is and a lotof a lot of teams and i know the celtics are this way and this was the way it was wheni was there uh only entertain internships that get course credit from colleges so thatthey're they're no volunteers no volunteers

no in in the end what happened and what happenedwith us at the celtics and i think it's still to a greater or lesser degree applicable acrossthe board is that we often hired as infrequently as job openings came about we often hiredout of our pool of of interns who had been there the last few years because we had anopportunity to view these people in this context in the in in the field you know it's almostlike a tryout and uh if if in the end uh you get a job that way uh chances are you're gonnado well at it to because you understand before you get in what it what what's involved whatdo you think the most important skill set you brought to the table in achieving successwith the celtics was nobody's ever asked me that before yeah i i well i was in the rightplace at the right time for a lot of reasons

and one of the things that happened that ithat worked for my benefit is something i told you about with red and that red understoodwhat he didn't know and and got people to do those jobs so that we had a he was completeand he was able to function and do what he did exceptionally well i i started sellingseason tickets within within uh five months i was thrown a legal issue on a sunday afternoonbecause red could not get a hold of the lawyer the lawyer who was skiing in nineteen seventytwo might has well have been on the moon we had a trade that we had to do that had toget done and uh he resorted to me and i quickly got on the phone 'cause i it it without goinginto the details involved a contingent trade that uh if we didn't get it done that daycouldn't let the guy leave the building it

was during a game that was going on and hewas going to leave when the game was over i ran down stairs i called a couple of mybuddies who had six months of uh uh law firm experience and we uh we talked it throughi cobbled together a contract signed it ultimately it was the trade that brought paul silas toto boston and two championships and but it started me on a path that uh was uh was wonderfulfor me because i was now working in although not that next day but red started giving methings to do and what i look back on and realize is that in the in in in respect to sportslaw nobody at that time knew anything more than i did it was evolving right before myeyes so i was very lucky so i took advantage i worked really hard uh i was uh uh you knowi was a detail person and ultimately uh forged

a career for myself jan was a guy who everytime i ever dealt with him and i didn't deal with him a lot of times but enough times toget to know him he always put his ego aside when he was doing a deal and a lot of peopledon't a lot of people owners lawyers lawyers especially well his his ego never got in theway of what he was trying to accomplish and i think it made it a lot easier to work withhim what what do you think the best skill set you bring to the table is frank i thinkin the agent business it's sort of a personality thing uh initially i think if you have somekind of a unique personality the players especially basketball players i can't speak for baseballhockey or football they sort of like unique personalities they they're not turned offby it they they enjoy different kind of people

for the most part uh probably wouldn't haveworked with grant hill's parents because they're very smart business like people both veryaccomplished at what they do and i think a lot of those type people think there's moreto this than there really is they think it's a lot more uh structured and i think it'ssort of like the wild west the agent business and the only thing i can tell you maybe it'ssort of i don't know if you ever watch seinfeld but uh george costanza figured out that uhhe did so badly with the women that the way to get women was to do the exact oppositeof what he normally did and that's he started getting women and i think if you want to belogical in the agent business you're gonna kid yourself there's not a lot of logic toit there's a lot of uh stuff that makes no

sense at all that happens so i think you haveto be sort of a unique personality or you have to be extremely directed and violentlywanting to sign people and there's two types there's the unique characters and i'm surejan could name twenty of them i don't know if he'd include me in that group right atthe top of the list and then there are the incredibly directed guys like and i'll mentionlike arn tellem or david falk who are characters but they are so directed at making money andwanting what they want that they really are over the top in some instances but they'revery very good agents neither one of them would laugh in a negotiation you'd never seea smile nothing nothing funny with them and that's the way they are and they're very whatdo they call it type a personalities all the

time and uh they make the most money but ithink there's a very interesting group of agents who who uh probably wouldn't be successfulat anything else the costanza school of player representation one of uh frank's uh attributesthat can help and hurt him probably amost at the same tine is his honesty and his abilityto be direct and he does not sugar coat for players he doesn't do and in the long runthat is absolutely the right thing to do because it will not work eventually the lie is eventuallyfound out uh but a lot of agents will will for example unfortunately jan the lie is foundout sometimes when they're in coaching and you run into them and they say frank you knowi should have stayed with you i know i know that that is true it can be too late in therecruiting process and they're now looking

to get an agent in the interviewing processfor that uh will will ask the uh agent for a projection on their draft position and everybodyloves to be flattered and invariably agents tell players knowing that it absolutely wasimpossible they'd place them higher than they should have frank doesn't do that and if he'scompeting with these agents he may somebody they somebody may understand that's that'scorrect and some may not let me ask you about team chemistry both on and off the court andhow you think that works uh but i'm gonna ask you in a sideways way uh would you havetraded perk i mean we're gonna make a championship run here this year but trading perkins bringingin a couple of new guys at this late date is that does team chemistry matter or is itlet's get the best players put 'em on the

court and see if we can win does team chemistrymatter yes it does uh but i'm gonna tell you right now it doesn't matter if you can't playright ok so it's a component but it's not at the top of the list but it is an importantbut it is important i am loathe to talk about other peoples deals it used to annoy me noend to listen to people talk about a trade or something that we did as somebody who'sis a a veteran and expert in the field who knows nothing about my circumstance talkingabout what i did and i used to throw things at the tv and and mark them you know in inin indelibly in my uh head uh about uh uh you know you know when i grade their performancethat uh that's high on the list having said that when you look at a deal no matter whatthe deal is there's always an aspect of it

you do not know there are so many and thisone has so many moving parts that uh there's no way to know they they are looking at shaq'sreturn with specific information that we don't have they're looking at jermaine o'neals returnwith specific information we do not have they were looking at perk's contract situationin ways we could never uh determine ourselves uh what his value he just signed today i don'tknow if you saw he signed today with uh the thunder oh he did he did and he signed foruh uh i think it was four years about thirty two million i'm not certain of that but ithink that's what i heard uh i don't know how they would've felt about i don't knowif they could've done that now cap wise whether or not they had the ability to even do thatuh so there is lots of factors that that go

into it uh just looking at that trade on termsof not not looking at the uh uh positions and where they are in a season which has suchgreat promise uh they did get the best player in that trade in jeff greene uh and that wasred's rule one we're told well red would say with very with with now there are lots oflots of rules for red that all you know they all interact but uh you don't trade in hisview you don't trade quantity excuse me you don't trade quality you don't trade away qualityfor quantity but if you can get uh if you can get quality and give up quantity go forit frank what do you think i think that are we gonna make a championship run uh i thinkit's gonna be tricky and i think perkins might have helped them more than jeff greene onthis particular team especially with a team

if they ever play orlando prk did a prettygood job on dwight howard but i think generally speaking most people would agree with whatjan said jeff greene is a better basketball player at the position than perk is perk wasa good role player and and he created value for himself by playing a role with superstarsaround him and i think uh that's what oklahoma's trying to do with him they've got a coupleof great players and uh i think they figured that's what they needed in the middle so theywere willing to get rid of a player who maybe they'll have salary problems with trying tosign him i don't know what his contract situation is i didn't look into it but i think he'sa free agent at the end of this year but he's a restricted free agent oh it's restrictedbut that only gives him a short term no it's

a it's a good opportunity to i think you getyou have a better chance of controlling what happens oh no i mean with jeff green it onlygave oklahoma a short term in which to make some decisions on him right right so i thinkthey were looking at salary and also what they are missing which is a bulky guy in themiddle just hearing it was thirty i didn't hear he signed but i knew the celtics didn'twant to pay him ten million a year which is what he was asking and i think they thoughthe was worth more about what he was getting so maybe they would've paid him six five ayear for four year i i think there was a seven or eight million dollar divergence in whathe was worth correct and i think i think the celtics would've kept him for six millionwhether they would've traded him for jeff

green if they didn't have to increase hispay i'm not sure of that so it's tricky uh jan we don't have the info and everybody'sgot a different opinion danny's got his own opinion of what he's trying to do long asa total package we don't know what that is same with oklahoma you know at at this juncturein the nba and in professional sports in general people in those jobs know what they're doingthey really do doesn't mean they're right all the time or it doesn't mean they maximizeall the time but when they do make a particularly something that looks like a bit of a gamblethey're doing it with information that we don't have and they're able to uh to handicapthat in ways that we don't we can't even begin to think about so i have a lot of faith indanny danny's done a really good job and so

i think uh we should uh see how it plays outwe have no choice by the way just like to change the percentage i think jan is correctseventy percent of the teams know what they are doing i think thirty percent of them haveguys who really don't know what they're doing and it causes a lot of problems ok great thanksguys ok

No comments:

Post a Comment