Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Babysitter to the Stars

This WSJ story isn't really personal finance related, but I found it interesting, so I thought I'd share this article about a man paid to be a babysitter to athletes. This guy sounds like an uber connector case study from a lost chapter to a Malcolm Gladwell book. I have no aspirations of becoming a celebrity babysitter to make extra money, but I am drawn to stories about people who network themselves into interesting jobs and opportunities in general.

"Many of the star basketball players descending on Phoenix today for the NBA All-Star Weekend will be calling a sitter -- and not for their kids. In a world that's become increasingly fraught with danger for superstar athletes as potential predators wield cellphone cameras at every turn, Julian Jones has carved out an unusual -- some might say enviable -- niche for himself. The lanky 27-year-old is the world's most sought-after athlete wingman.

Part companion, part publicist, part chaperone and part guardian angel,
Mr. Jones, who lives in Las Vegas and works for a pair of casino owners, specializes in setting up elaborately arranged outings for athletes where every detail from transportation and tickets to the members of the entourage is premeditated...

Using a combination of street smarts, tips from veteran superstars like Shaquille O'Neal and ancient Chinese military tactics gleaned from reading Sun Tzu's "Art of War," Mr. Jones has become so adept at protecting his charges from ugly situations and nightclub mayhem that he's become a trusted ally of athletes across all sports leagues. NBA stars from Kobe Bryant to Amare Stoudemire have joined his entourage in Las Vegas. He rang in the New Year with Michael Phelps, escorted New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia and his son to a fight this month, and in January accompanied Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens to a party."