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How Much Is an Arm and a Leg?
Rick Reilly
November 09, 1992
High-profile athletes now license their faces, so why don't they rent out other body parts?
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November 09, 1992

How Much Is An Arm And A Leg?

High-profile athletes now license their faces, so why don't they rent out other body parts?

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There is one person in the world I would gladly sponge bathe a diseased yak to avoid seeing, and, unfortunately, at this moment he's walking through my office door: Dalton.

Dalton, who works down the hall from me, has more ideas than 3M. Most of them stink. All of them he shares with me.

I immediately hide under my desk.

"This Mario Lemieux thing!" Dalton says, pulling me out. "Unbelievable! Did you see it? Lemieux sold the Pittsburgh Penguins exclusive rights to his face! Says they can do anything with it they want! Imagine! They own this man's face. The papers say the rights are worth $10 million!"

"Fascinating," I say, "but right now I'm a little...."

"Don't you see! It's brilliant!" he says. "Why, this changes sports marketing entirely!"

I look at my watch. "I'd love to chat," I say, "but...."

"If Lemieux can sell the rights to his face for $10 million," Dalton says, "how much can other players get for their body parts? I'm serious! I'll bet Michael Jordan could get that just for his tongue!"

I mention that today is perhaps not the best time to....

"Or how about Charles Barkley's head? Do you know how much GE would pay to put its corporate logo on that? Or what Northwest Airlines would cough up to feature Kirby Puckett's big ol' gluteus maximus in an ad? 'If one of our coach scats is big enough to handle Kirby, we're big enough to handle you.' "

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