The Player Agent Who Gave Us the Modern NBA
Dan Fegan built an empire and changed the league through stress tests
Last week’s shaky trade deadline machinations opened up fissures that offered peeks into the real NBA. It all reminded me of Dan Fegan, NBA superagent and behind-the-scenes genius. As lead NBA newsbreaker Adrian Wojnarowski, a close Fegan confidant, failed to cover his tracks on a bungled story, I idly wondered whether this would all be happening in the basketball world Fegan steered. The NBA certainly seems to be tilted slightly off its axis since Dan departed this earth. Fegan along with coaching agent Warren LeGarie and a couple of others, was one of those immensely powerful NBA figures the average basketball fan never heard of. Some would say he ran the Dallas Mavericks for a good long while. And one day, roughly four years ago, he died in an instant, dissolving an empire that took three decades to build.
I never met Dan Fegan, so he’ll always seem more myth than man to me. Mention of his name chilled the atmosphere at more than a few dinners I attended on the NBA circuit. Say it and you could inspire invective from a journalist, GM, or a team staffer mourning the demolition of best-laid plans. He claimed more clients at the time of his death than all of the Creative Artists Agency behemoth, and had a knack for making others in the industry feel uncomfortable and exposed. He inspired fear, hatred, but most of all, respect.