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SI.com: Interview with Jordan's former agent, David Falk

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I know Falk's probably not the most loved guy in the league but he makes a lot of sense in this interview. Some highlights: "SI.com: How did you see Billy's [Hunter[ part in it [the lockout]? Falk: He doesn't think he needs support, which I find incredibly difficult to understand in a process that's inherently political. Stern -- who is a very smart, powerful guy, and the most able commissioner in the history of professional sports -- is surrounded by dozens of lawyers. No one says that having the lawyers around him weakens David Stern's position, but Billy feels that having support by powerful people somehow makes him look like he's weak. I've never met a person in a high position, whether it's a CEO or the president of the United States or a king, who doesn't have dozens of advisors that he relies on. He makes the final decision, but you surround yourself with a presidential cabinet. You have as many smart people as you can, hopefully people smarter than you, to help make sure that you do a good job. Billy has never embraced that concept. I think he somehow feels like putting smart people around you makes you look weak to the players." "SI.com: In terms of agents separating themselves, I'd think that you of all people would see branding as playing a big part. Can't you separate yourself by landing marketing deals, etc.? Falk: First of all, I think there's only one player in NBA history that has really been branded, and that's Michael Jordan. His brand has lasted from 1984 to 2012, is going strong, is over $1 billion. He's internationally recognized, is the second-most-recognizable person in China, and he truly has a brand that was cultivated. But when he started, the intent wasn't to manage him to create a brand. It was to manage him to become a great player and the brand grew out of being a great player. I think today's generation of players are trying to skip that step. They're trying to create brands, but you can't create a brand. I think the brand is something that derives from your recognizability, your favorability, your performance, success, personality. It's a blend of different factors. Michael Jordan developed a brand because it was something that developed naturally. It wasn't something that was manufactured, and I think today too many people are trying too hard -- in a faddish kind of a way -- and the fad things never last. In Michael's generation, there were people like Jim McMahon and Brian Bosworth -- they were fads. They were hot for a couple of years, but [Jordan's] brand lasted because it was built on a very strong foundation." "SI.com: Do you see LeBron James as a brand? Falk: No. First of all, he hasn't won a championship. Second of all, I'm a big LeBron fan and like LeBron personally, but I think he's trying too hard to be a brand, like we saw with The Decision. If I represented LeBron and he told me that he wanted to do a show called The Decision, I'd say, "Great, after you win your first ring, let's do a documentary detailing why you decided to pick Miami. The reason you picked them is because you wanted to win a championship, but until that time The Decision has made you extremely unpopular." The problem is -- and I like [LeBron's manager] Maverick Carter, as well -- very few players have capable management. I think most of the players are managing their agents, because the agents don't have the confidence or the courage to tell the players what they really think they want to hear. They tell them what they want to hear because they're afraid of getting fired."

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