Ever want to make millions of dollars a year? Meet with heads of state and represent world famous politicians, entertainers and athletes? Be neighbors with Larry Bird and Michael Dukakis? Bob Woolf does and is.
Some clues on how Woolf, the famous sports attorney, got to where he is are now available for $21.95 at your local bookstore. The book, called "Friendly Persuasion, My Life as a Negotiator," details how Woolf became the agent to the stars. Interestingly, Woolf's recurrent theme is that one need not be angry, threatening or even impolite to drive a hard bargain.Woolf's practice is founded on what he calls simple tenets that are "applicable not only in negotiating but in dealing with people in everyday life." They include You Don't Have to Be Disagreeable to Disagree; The Golden Rule; and Be True to Your Convictions.
The book is surprisingly readable, largely due to the number of first-person anecdotes. Woolf tells of negotiating against the likes of business tycoon Donald Trump, ABC News president Roone Arledge, Celtics' president Red Auerbach and media/sports magnate Ted Turner.
Unlike some public figures, who either simmer or shrink at the appearance of the media, he explains how to make the media an ally.
But the book isn't just about how to be an agent. It is a practical guide for anyone who needs to negotiate something. He says the principle can apply to Larry Bird's contract or something as simple as which movie to see with your spouse.
As for those who want to actually become agents, Woolf says to go to college and get as much information as one can in contract and business law.
A recent Sports Illustrated cover, that featured a proposed U.S. Olympic team starting five, has everyone thinking ahead to the '92 Games. That includes the Mailman himself, who says he is still ready to play.
Karl Malone says he has no qualms about (if selected) playing for Chuck Daly, who was recently named as the team's coach.
Malone also indicates there is no contingency plan for silver medals. "We gotta win. We'll win, without a doubt. To heck with Al McGuire (who says the Americans may not be able to win even with NBA players involved). I don't care what he says."
As for S.I.'s observations that Malone is well-suited to the physical style of international ball, Malone gives his baddest glare and says, "I'll beat the hell out of some people. I will."
Jazz assistant Gordon Chiesa figures the happiest coach in America is the one coaching the Rapid City Thrillers of the CBA.
John Calvin, the Thrillers' coach, left Kuwait last August when Iraq invaded the country. According to Chiesa, Calvin and his family left without even having time to pack their clothes.
Coaching in Rapid City may not exactly be the world's best job, but it's a dream position compared to being held hostage in a foreign land.
Woolf, who represents Jazz players Thurl Bailey, Darrell Griffith and Mike Brown, wasn't mum on the subject of his clients when he was in town this week.
Bailey, who was dismayed last summer when he wasn't offered a raise along with Karl Malone and John Stockton, will likely be hoping for one this year.
"I hope they'll (the Jazz) be coming to me," said Woolf. "There has to be some justice in the world."
Although Bailey, who makes about $1 million a year, will have four years left on his contract, Woolf says he's optimistic a raise will be in order. If not, "he'll still honor it (his contract)."
But, adds Woolf, "I know they'll (the Jazz) do the right thing."
As far as Darrell Griffith is concerned, Woolf says he can play past the terms of his contract, which is good through next season. "A wonderful person," says Woolf, "who's had a tremendous career."
Asked if playing in a small NBA market has hurt Griffith's opportunities, Woolf says, "On his behalf, I have been somewhat frustrated. He's an exciting player. If he was in L.A. or Boston or New York or Chicago, he would have received much more acclaim than here (in Salt Lake). But that's my frustration on his behalf, because he has never indicated that to me."
Lastly, there is the case of Mike Brown, who becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. Already making $600,000 a year, Brown should easily be able to command $1 million. That being the case, then Bailey will have a case for a raise, considering he is statistically well ahead of Brown.
Woolf said the Jazz made an offer "a couple of months ago," to Brown, but nothing was resolved. Playing in Italy, his wife's home country, is a viable possibility, since Brown played there before.
But, says Woolf, "Mike would like to stay here, under the right circumstances. He likes the organization. Mike would rather play in America."