Friday, May 21, 1999

Wally's in fashion

Endorsements, NBA future bright for Szczerbiak

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Armani or Hugo Boss? That's the kind of decision Wally Szczerbiak is pondering these days.

        Both designers have offered Szczerbiak, a former Miami men's basketball star, a suit contract. He'll wear something from the one he chooses to the NBA draft June 30 in Washington, D.C.

        Between now and then, Szczerbiak waits and works out.

        “That's pretty much it,” he said from his parents' home in Long Island. “I'm waiting to see how it all plays out.”

        Szczerbiak also is cashing in a little bit on fame he built during the NCAA Tournament. Szczerbiak's father, Walt, will represent him in his contract negotiations. But Wally has hired Gary Wichard of Pro-Tech to represent his marketing interests.

        Wichard has found some nice gigs for Szczerbiak. He's going to Los Angeles next week to shoot an episode of Arliss, the HBO comedy about a sports agent. He's scheduled to do a Tommy Hilfiger photo layout for ESPN magazine.

        “We get tons of requests,” said Jeff Freeman of Pro-Tech. “We're trying to pick and choose.”

        But basketball still occupies the top spot on Szczerbiak's priority list.

        “I'm playing a lot of ball,” he said, “and lifting. I want to stay in good shape.”

        Szczerbiak has been projected as high as No.2 overall in the draft, behind Rhode Island's Lamar Odom.

        “I have no idea about that,” Szczerbiak said. “I've heard top five or six.”

        Because Szczerbiak expects to go so high, he isn't working out for every NBA team that calls. So far, in fact, he's worked out for only Toronto.

        “I want to wait until the lottery list comes out,” he said, “before I decide where to go.”

        The NBA's draft lottery is Saturday and will be televised by NBC.

        The Cleveland Cavaliers reportedly are interested in Szczerbiak; they may even trade up to get him.

        “They want me to come in and work out,” he said. “I haven't heard about them wanting to trade up. But that would be a great place for me to play.”


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