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Fame Jam

Making millions for NBA Stars: the high-powered world of super agents David Falk, Curtis Polk and Mike Higgins.
Alejandro Benes
From the Print Edition:
James Woods, May/Jun 97

(continued from page 7)

Shortly before lunch, the phone in Polk's office rings. Allen Iverson, the Philadelphia 76ers rookie guard, is on the line. Polk excuses himself and walks with the cordless phone to the door. "Allen, how you doin', buddy? Where are you, New York?" Polk says, his voice revealing his Brooklyn roots.

After hanging up with Iverson, Polk, Higgins and FAME's director of media services, Alyson Sadofsky, are in Polk's Lexus LX 450 on the way to lunch at Ozio, the downtown Washington cigar and martini bar where Polk and Falk have lockers and can find a safe place to light up.

"Only in the last two to three years have I started to smoke a little more socially," Polk says as he puts on his ever-cool Revo sunglasses while negotiating D.C.'s midday traffic. "You know, back then, '84, '85, if you tried to smoke anywhere--even when people weren't as hyper as they are now about cigarette smoking--they'd get on you for smoking cigars. Now in these buildings you can't smoke. I mean, I've heard stories about the 'smoking police' from a building coming into somebody's firm saying, 'Hey, we understand so-and-so's smoking a cigar in the building. This is a nonsmoking building.' Now there's a lot of restaurants and lounges where you can smoke cigars, so for the last two years I've gotten in the habit of smoking a couple a week.

"In the summer, I'll smoke two [double coronas] on the golf course and I'll try to play golf at least once a week," Polk adds. "I like smoking in the morning. A lot of times when I'm traveling, I'll wake up in the morning and if I'm not doing anything immediately, I'll just light up in my room and watch the news."

Polk shares Falk's taste for Cohibas and Hoyo double coronas, but says, "I'm a fast smoker. I just love to puff on it." He complains about how difficult it is to get his hands on large Cuban cigars, but confides that he has discovered a possible solution. "I've gotten friendly with a few people who work in embassies and they're really good people to know for cigars because they can bring them back in," he says, wondering whether it's a good idea to share this intelligence. "There's always somebody from an embassy who's bringing in a pouch."

"Growing up in Las Vegas," Higgins joins in, "everybody smoked cigars. I mean, I was probably a weekend warrior [smoker] in high school because my best friend's father was from Steubenville, Ohio, where all the gangsters came from," he says with a laugh.

"Steubenville, Ohio?" Polk asks, puzzled.

"Yeah, he was one of these guys that never didn't have a stogie in his mouth," Higgins says. "That was my first experience where you start trying cigars. I did a lot in college primarily because it was a weekend thing. I didn't know about Montecristos or Cohibas. You might have smoked a Macanudo or Partagas. There wasn't much of a variety, or at least I didn't know. Whatever you were handed or whatever you could get your hands on is what you smoked."

Higgins, who oversees FAME's basketball operations, says that he smokes more when he's on the road and will try to find good Cuban cigars when he's in Vancouver checking on Grizzlies client Bryant "Big Country" Reeves, or when he's in Toronto checking out the Raptors. "Nowadays, I'm in Vancouver a lot, Curtis goes to Toronto. You can go up there and get anything you want," Higgins says.

Polk, fresh off a visit to Canada, disagrees. "There's nothing in Toronto," he reports with some despair. "A price increase is going into effect, so people have just bought the shelves out."

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