Superagent David Falk -- the man who called the shots for some of the greatest heroes in the history of basketball -- reveals the innovative business secrets that catapulted him to the top of his game.
David Falk is the most successful agent in the game of basketball. He has represented more NBA first-round draft selections, lottery picks, Rookies-of-the-Year, and All-Stars than anyone else in the business. He changed the NBA's entire salary structure with a unique approach to negotiations that garnered some of the biggest contracts in league history, including Alonzo Mourning's $100-plus million contract with the Miami Heat -- the first ever in professional sports. His groundbreaking Nike deal for Michael Jordan, the most successful endorsement relationship in history, revolutionized basketball by creating the game's first commercial superstar.
Basketball Digest called Falk one of the sport's most influential people, second only to NBA commissioner David Stern. In The Bald Truth, Falk, respected throughout the industry as an innovator, candidly unveils the business secrets that have fueled his extraordinary success. For the first time, he shares the fascinating insider details of how he negotiated lucrative contracts, learned from his mistakes, and branded and marketed not only the greatest basketball stars in history but also other elite athletes and coaches.
Falk is blunt, he's fair, and he looks at the long run rather than the short-term gains. To make a great deal, he believes, both sides have to win. He adheres to steadfast principles, some of which he learned from the celebrated champion athletes and revered coaching legends -- like Georgetown's John Thompson and Duke's Mike Krzyzewski -- who have been long-standing clients and lifelong friends.
Since Falk began representing athletes more than thirty-five years ago, basketball has grown from a fledgling team sport to a multibilliondollar business with celebrity players, powerful endorsement deals, salary caps, and ever-evolving free agency rules. He has made millions of dollars for himself and his clients, but today he remains in the business for one reason: love of the game -- on and off the court.
David Falk has long been recognized as one of the sports industry’s leading figures and most talented innovators. He began his career representing professional athletes with ProServ in 1974, rising to Vice Chairman of the company. In 1992, he formed Falk Associates Management Enterprises (FAME) to provide specialized and personal representation service to the company’s elite clientele of NBA superstars.
During his career, Falk has represented more NBA first-round draft selections, lottery picks, Rookies-of-the-Year, and All-Stars than anyone else in the athlete management business. In 1985, he negotiated Michael Jordan’s ground-breaking deal with Nike--the most successful endorsement relationship in history--and in the process coined the nickname “Air Jordan.” Falk negotiated the highest contracts in NBA league history for Patrick Ewing in 1985 and Danny Ferry in 1990. He also negotiated professional sports’ first $100 million contract in 1996 for Alonzo Mourning as part of an unprecedented free agency period in which FAME changed the entire salary structure of the NBA, negotiating over $400 million in contracts for its free agent clients in a six-day period.
In 1998, Falk sold FAME to SFX Entertainment, serving on SFX’s Board of Directors and in the Office of the Chairman. As Chairman of SFX Sports Group, Falk oversaw the acquisition of a dozen sports agencies that enabled SFX to represent approximately 20 percent of MLB and NBA players. Falk stepped down as Chairman in 2001 to pursue other interests. In January 2007, Falk re-launched FAME and currently serves as its Founder and CEO.
He and his wife, the former Rhonda Frank, live in Rockville, Maryland, and have two daughters, Daina, and Jocelyn.
“In thirty-five years as an NBA agent—and for much of that time, its most powerful agent—Falk has earned a reputation for brutal honesty.” —The New York Times
“Falk’s mix of anecdotes and biz tips is a page-turner.” —Sports Illustrated
“A lot of people don’t like David, but he’s the best at what he does. He understands the market; he understands the players. He’s a brash, arrogant, egotistical, aggressive negotiator, which is good, because when you have someone represent you, you want him to do that.” —Michael Jordan in USA Today
“A fair-minded, at times humorous account of Falk’s career.” —Daily News (NY)
“David Falk helped revolutionize the process of representing a basketball player.” —David Halberstam in Playing for Keeps