KOLKATA, India (CMC) – Former India batsman Gautam Gambhir has criticised Kings XI Punjab’s million-dollar acquisition of West Indies speedster Sheldon Cottrell, labelling the move as a “desperation” buy.Cottrell found himself at the centre of a bidding war between Rajasthan Royals, Delhi Capitals and Kings XI before Kings XI finally secured his services for US$1.2 million.Speaking following Thursday’s auction here, Gambhir said he did not believe Cottrell possessed “enough quality” to justify the lucrative price tag.“There were no better options, Pat Cummins and Chris Morris both were sold out. They tried hard to get Morris but it didn’t work,” said Gambhir, who twice led Kolkata Knight Riders to IPL titles.“I still don’t think Sheldon Cottrell has enough quality to become a (US$1.2 million) bowler. He’s still to build on accuracy and speed yet that he can bowl at 145 (kph) speed. He can look at putting cutters but that might not help at Mohali.“I think Anil Kumble (Kings XI director of operations) picked him up in desperation since they couldn’t get Chris Morris or Pat Cummins. If the demand is high and supply is low, these things happen.”Cottrell has had an outstanding year for West Indies, taking 30 wickets from 23 One-Day Internationals and 14 from 12 T20 Internationals.He also led the attack during a wretched ICC World Cup campaign by the Caribbean side to finish with 12 wickets and was also instrumental in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) with 12 wickets at an economy rate of just under eight runs per over for St Kitts and Nevis Patriots.At Kings XI, Cottrell joins West Indies teammates Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran who were both retained following the last IPL season, and Barbados-born England fast-bowling all-rounder Chris Jordan.
UPDATED: Nov. 28, 2018 at 5:56 p.m.WASHINGTON, D.C. — David Falk reclined back in a swivel chair in front of his glass desk on the ninth floor of his Chevy Chase office suite.Memories of a 40-plus year career as a sports agent surround Falk’s office, filled with Michael Jordan memorabilia, one-of-a-kind props from the movie Space Jam and countless pictures with clients like Patrick Ewing and Boomer Esiason lining the walls.One of professional sports’ landmark agents knows what some outsiders think of him. Some saw the agent as too brash, controlling the top athletes in the world with the snap of his fingers. Falk admitted it’s true. He’s told his clients to turn down nine-digit contracts, and once, intervened 48 hours before the wedding of Dikembe Mutombo because his wife-to-be wouldn’t sign a prenuptial agreement.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFalk, 68, doesn’t regret any of it. He’s honest with his clients because it’s in their best interest. They know him as the most respected agent in sports. The one who told them to lose weight. The one at their parents’ funeral. But most importantly, the one who won’t lie.What started as a dream in his freshman year dorm at Syracuse University turned into representing players like Jordan and Ewing for their entire professional careers. Even if his honesty put him at a disadvantage and cost potential NBA superstars as clients, he never sugar-coated anything. That’s who he’s always been. And why, in an industry known for empty promises and deceit, he’s risen to the top.“I go to work and represent the creme of the crop,” said Falk, founder of FAME. “I want to do the best because I feel like I work for the best. And if that means being harsh, I’m going to tell them what they need to hear. I just believe in that.”,An 18-year-old Falk got up from his bed on the ground floor of Kimmel Dining Hall and wandered the halls during move-in day at Syracuse in 1968. He walked down the hall and poked his head into room 20, the dorm of two Syracuse basketball players, Greg Kohls and Paul Piotrowski.Their brief interaction turned into the three hanging out on Marshall Street and Falk regularly giving them pointers on their play the night after games. Falk loved the game but lacked his new friends’ skill. So Falk started to mentor them, Kohls said. When they needed a tutor, the two bypassed university recommendees and asked Falk to help them stay on track for graduation.An economics major who operated as a “sports encyclopedia,” Falk told Kohls and Piotroski he wanted to become a sports agent a couple weeks into their friendship. It seemed odd at first, but it made sense: Falk just had to do the same thing he’s done for Piotrowski and Kohls, but on a professional level.“It wasn’t going to be easy,” Piotrowski said. “But if anyone could do it, it was him.”When Falk broke into the business, he realized being a sports junkie had no importance. Falk was at a “competitive disadvantage,” he said, because he didn’t have anything that set himself apart from other young agents wanting high-profile clients. Falk spent the early part of his career researching and developing a formula of rudimentary analytics, a number that identifies the monetary values of his clients.“I didn’t give a damn what other people were getting,” Falk said.It wasn’t well-received because it was a new line of thinking in the industry, but he needed something to persuade top clients to trust him.Donald Dell’s Proserv, one of the first sports management firms in the U.S., hired him and gave him the opportunity to pitch top clients.After a few minor clients and John Lucas II, an all-American point guard at Maryland, Falk aimed higher. His two senior partners had a relationship with North Carolina, specifically with head basketball coach Dean Smith, so all Falk did was fly down and meet him. At the time, Smith coached one of the best players in the country, then-junior Michael Jordan, who won ACC player of the year that season. Dell negotiated Jordan’s rookie contract, five years for $6 million and a $1 million signing bonus, and Falk wasn’t given the credit.A year later, Falk landed his first marquee client on his own. Falk represented Georgetown head coach John Thompson, who he thought could sway the Hoya’s top prospect, Ewing, to sign with Falk. Thompson promised to recommend Ewing to him, but he and Falk got into a “screaming match” about Ewing leaving college early, an argument Thompson’s agent ultimately won, and Ewing stayed for his senior season. Falk represented Ewing upon his graduation the following year and would direct the rest of Ewing’s career.Years later, Thompson called Falk into his office.“Son, you have a problem,” Falk remembered the legendary head coach said as Falk walked in.Falk, then in his mid-40s, grew nervous. Thompson waited for him to respond, but Falk was quiet.“You want people to like you, don’t you?” Thompson asked.Of course he did. It was a basic human instinct, Falk said to him. “Not in your business,” Thompson said. “If that bothers you, quit the business. Stop worrying if people like you and start worrying whether your clients respect you. If people don’t like you, that’s an occupational hazard of your job.”Thompson’s advice ran through his mind. He wanted to argue, but Thompson was right. Falk couldn’t be normal. He signed Thompson’s star center and future No. 1 overall pick Ewing. Then, Falk had the platform.,“It was like a right of passage,” Falk said. “John put me in the game and forever changed my career.“And the fact that my deal for Ewing ($3.3 million in his first season) was so much better than the deal Dell did for Jordan,” Falk paused and smirked, “is an interesting outcome.”Jordan wanted Falk to leave Proserv to be his own personal agent in 1987. Coming off his third season in the NBA, Jordan averaged 37.1 points for the Chicago Bulls the year prior, the highest single-season average since Wilt Chamberlain in 1962. He was well on his way to becoming one of the best basketball players of all time.It wasn’t that Falk was reliant on his company, but he didn’t want to commit to one client, even someone with the stardom of Jordan.He built connections while representing both Jordan and Ewing, but Falk stayed with Proserv with two requests to Dell: pay accordingly and don’t lie. Dell was doing both — making secret deals behind Falk’s back and paying other agents more than him, Falk said. In 1992, Falk found out and quit on the spot.Dell fired back and offered him four times what Falk was previously making.“He could’ve offered me 40 times what I was making,” Falk said. “I had crossed the bridge.”The prime of Falk’s career, which he said was between the early 1980s and late 1990s, was coming to a close. Jordan and Ewing’s playing days were winding down, and Falk considered retirement. But in 1999, Falk reached out to one last projected NBA draft first overall pick, Duke’s Elton Brand.,Other agents promised Brand a sneaker contract and millions in endorsements, Brand said, but Falk knew that wouldn’t be possible for a big man like him. In a room with Brand and his mom, Daisy, Falk spoke to them the only way he knew how — blunt but truthful. He told Brand he wouldn’t get a sneaker deal no matter where he was drafted. Falk left the one-hour meeting in Durham thinking he had lost the client. But the Brands bought in.“We loved that,” Brand said. “My mom really loved that, she was kind of the same way. But that’s just who he is.”Falk called Brand one of the greatest players he’s mentored because Brand always listened. If Falk told him to read a certain book, he would. And Brand followed his business instructions. He knew Falk’s past successes, his older clients and their net worths, so he respected Falk’s knowledge.“We became brothers,” Brand said. “Like he could’ve been my father figure, but we were brothers.”When Daisy, Brand’s only parent growing up, died in July 2014, Falk made her funeral a priority. It wasn’t in his job description, but Brand spotted Falk in the crowd of people. After, the two embraced. In 2016, when Brand told him he wanted to retire and live a simple life, one with yoga and taking care of his kids full-time, Falk challenged him. He thought Brand would get bored, and waste his talents.After serious consideration, Brand, like he had always done, listened to Falk and took a job in a G League affiliate’s front office. Two years after retiring from the NBA, Brand is now the general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers.“He was right,” Brand said, “I knew I wouldn’t be alone and that I could do it. David’s a big reason why I did.”,In his office earlier this month, Falk multitasked signing checks and talking on the phone with one of his close friends. He mentioned voting the previous day and bantered about the Washington Wizards starting a losing streak. Falk wanted to schedule a day that week to golf but wanted to “figure things out casually.”He’s still busy. Falk represents multiple clients, highlighted by the Wizards’ Otto Porter Jr. and the Toronto Raptors’ Greg Monroe. With his partner Danielle Cantor, Falk stills flies around the country to games and advises his clients to shoot more 3s or slim their weight down. But the two don’t plan on signing too many new clients in the future.And even after the success, not all clients buy in. Last year, the Indiana Pacers’ Victor Oladipo was in the market for a new agent. The Maryland native asked FAME to pitch him. After flying to Florida, the former second overall pick stopped Falk 10 minutes into their meeting.Oladipo didn’t think Falk understood that he was a “great player.” Falk wasn’t going to let that slide.“No, you’re not a great player,” Falk said to him at the time. “You’ve never made the All-Star team, once. You’re a great talent, and you need me to teach you how to be a great talent to a great player.”Falk didn’t sugarcoat it. He didn’t want unrealistic goals for a potential client, even if it was detrimental to the pitch. Oladipo left the meeting and chose elsewhere.Last season, Oladipo proved Falk wrong. Oladipo led the projected mediocre Pacers to a playoff spot while posting career highs in points and field goal percentage. And he made the All-Star team.“I could’ve let it go,” Falk said of Oladipo, “but that’s not my nature.”Photos by Lauren Miller | Asst. Video EditorCORRECTION: In a previous version of this post, David Falk’s argument about Patrick Ewing with John Thompson, head coach of Georgetown, was misstated. Thompson’s agent ultimately won the argument. The Daily Orange regrets this error. Published on November 27, 2018 at 11:19 pm Contact KJ: [email protected] | @KJEdelman,Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment. Comments