Before I was old enough to attend NBA games on my own, I was a pretty regular player in the business side of the NBA. You must be puzzled reading that opening statement but I was big time in the labor side and spawned a couple of sons who became agents.
That’s right, meet the other Larry Fleisher. Before dying in 1989 when I was 10, he was the founder of the NBA players association after getting the request to do by Tommy Heinsohn in 1953. In 1976, he helped free agency come into play, also brokered the merger between the NBA and ABA and finally before retiring in the mid 1980s, he negotiated the famous or infamous salary cap and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991.
He also has two sons Mark and Eric, who became player agents. Eric only has two clients now while Mark has 10, including Tony Parker, Andrei Kirilenko and Jerome James.
In my three years of covering the NBA only once has anyone noticed the name and seen the connection. That was Bernie Bickerstaff, who coached the Charlotte Bobcats in their first three seasons. Bickerstaff was in the middle of talking about everything that Matt Carroll does for his team when he stopped and goes “Larry Fleisher, huh? You know his father? I had to tell him I’m not related but I knew who he was. After finishing that, he goes what was I talking about and I politely remind him that he was discussing Matt Carroll, who wound up with about 26 points in a blowout win over the Knicks that night.