The list of first-time nominees for the 2017 Pro Basketball Hall of Fame class has been released. Among the list of first-time nominees are: Tracy McGrady, Ben Wallace, Muggsy Bogues, former referees Jake O’Donnell and Sid Borgia. The complete list can be seen here.
A notable nominee up for election is super-agent David Falk. This is of interest because it is not very often that someone on this side of the industry is up for Hall of Fame consideration. When looking at the players he represented (Alonzo Mourning, Patrick Ewing, Allen Iverson and someone named Michael Jordan), his career of helping shape these Hall of Fame players’ off the court was definitely no small task.
In the 1990s Falk was often considered the second-most powerful person in the NBA behind then Commissioner David Stern. His influence on the game and in the careers and lives of his clients cannot be understated. His professional accolades include being listed among the “100 Most Powerful People in Sports” from 1990-2001 by The Sporting News and being named one of the Top 50 Marketers in the United States by Advertising Age in 1995.
He negotiated the then-highest contracts in NBA history for Patrick Ewing and Danny Ferry, and also negotiated professional sports’ first $100 million for Alonzo Mourning. His agency, FAME, negotiated more than $400 million in contracts for free agent clients in a six-day period, ultimately changing the salary structure in the NBA.
After initially working for ProServ as an intern while a law student at George Washington University, Falk signed on with ProServ for an entry level job starting at $13,000. He is credited with negotiating Michael Jordan’s deal with Nike after some then-unheard of tactics. Instead of seeking their services, he wanted companies to create a presentation and pitch it to the client to see which one to go with – essentially changing the game. Nike decided to target Jordan as the player of the future, which worked out pretty well for both parties.
After leaving ProServ in a messy split to start Falk Associates Management Enterprises (FAME), he brought all of his big name clients with him, but was not able to completely rid himself of ProServ. He continued to pay the company fees for former clients and an additional percentage of future income on new contracts. This turned out to be a minor speed bump in FAME’s success as it represented six first-round draft picks during its seven-year existence in addition to negotiating four of the five largest contracts in team sports history. FAME was sold in 1998 for $100 million to SFX, who also bought 14 other sports agencies and consolidated them into SFX Sports Group with Falk being named chairman. As previously mentioned, Falk was not able to completely rid himself from ProServ, mostly in part to SFX also acquiring his former company, of which Falk found himself in charge of.
As Chairman of SFX, Falk oversaw the company represent approximately 20 percent of MLB and NBA players. With Falk, and other super agent Arn Tellem, SFX Sports Group came to represent one-third of NBA players in 2002, according to Dime Magazine.
In January 2007, Falk re-launched FAME and is its current founder and CEO. According to RealGM.com, Falk represents five current players.
As someone who has influenced the world of professional basketball, and was a trailblazer in the representation industry, it seems only fitting that Falk finds himself up for nomination for the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame.