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That’s not loyalty; that’s doing his job and representing his client’s best interests. Loyalty, Falk says, is grown not with enormous contracts but by developing relationships and sustaining them over the years.

“I probably spend more time with my ex-clients than most agents spend with their current clients because those are the guys [who] made me who I am,” Falk says. “It didn’t come because of the way I dressed. It came because I was working for the best and the brightest.”

In 1994, Howard was a rookie with the Bullets while his family was back in Chicago. Being 21 and new in town, Howard had no idea where to go for Thanksgiving dinner. Falk and his wife, Rhonda, opened their home to Howard - a gesture that has stayed with the 6-foot-9 forward.

“That’s something that will always stick out in my mind,” Howard says. “He wanted to take me in and show that he cares for me as a person more than anything. You know, 15 years later, I still feel the same way.”

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski had a similar experience in 2004, when he strongly considered coaching the Los Angeles Lakers. Falk and Krzyzewski holed up in the coach’s 14-acre estate all weekend, but eventually Falk had to head to his private plane for a meeting with Jordan.

Falk made it to the end of the long driveway, then turned around.

“He said, ‘I’m staying with you guys,’ ” Krzyzewski says. “He’s a great friend of mine, and he’s really loyal - really loyal - and completely trustworthy. When someone of that ability and that experience brings loyalty and trustworthiness to the equation, it’s a grand slam.”

For former Georgetown coach John Thompson, loyalty came in the form of his son, John Thompson III. For John Lucas, Falk’s first No. 1 pick in 1976, it came in the form of his son, John Lucas III. For Ewing, it has come in the form of his son, Patrick Ewing Jr.

Falk represented them all - all too rare in the cutthroat agent business.

“I just told [Patrick Jr.] that this is a person I trust, and he’s done a great job by me and hopefully he’ll do a great job by you,” the elder Ewing says. “It’s all about trust.”

At this point, Falk can do deals in his sleep. That’s not why he continues to work, especially when he has made more money than he ever dreamed of as a kid cleaning up blood in his father’s butcher shop.

These relationships - and building similar bonds with current players like Oklahoma City’s Jeff Green and Philadelphia’s Elton Brand - are what gets him to work every day.

“I think I’m a nut for loyalty,” Falk says. “What I enjoy most about the business isn’t making the deals - it’s not the publicity. It’s feeling you’ve sort of stood the test of time with people like John Lucas for 33 years, Phil Ford for 31 years, Michael Jordan for 25. … It gives me endless satisfaction to feel that, for almost all of my clients, [I’ve] been able to maintain a cradle-to-grave relationship.”

Branding MJ

Not long ago, Falk sifted through old files before moving into his new office. He found some old Nike stock certificates in Michael Jordan’s name.

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