Eric is the most outgoing of the Tellem men. "The kid's confidence is awesome!" says Oakland A's ace Barry Zito, a Tellem client. He met Eric last November at Matty Tellem's bar mitzvah. "Eric came up to me and said, ' Barry, how are you doing? Really glad you could be here. Just make yourself comfortable and eat something.' He'll be unstoppable if he becomes an agent."
It wouldn't surprise anyone. "Arn has integrated his boys into the agency," says Vaccaro. "They're a recruiting base for him." Though Arn doesn't hang out with his clients, his sons do. They get batting tips from Giambi, defensive pointers from McGrady, lessons in deportment from Belle.
But seriously, folks...Belle was baseball's biggest hothead. Yet of all the athletes Tellem has repped, Belle may be his favorite. "I judge players by how they get along with my kids, and none has ever been more popular in my household than Albert," he says. "When he's in town, he comes over to the house and plays chess with Matty or video games with Mike, with Eric on his lap. Plus, he got me back into eating oatmeal like I used to in sixth grade."
Oatmeal, Tellem reminds you, is supposed to reduce cholesterol. "My father wasn't there for my bar mitzvah. My big thing is to be around for all three of my kids' bar mitzvahs. If I make that goal, I'll set a new one—maybe the weddings."
You get the impression that Tellem's sons are the main reason he won't even contemplate retirement. "I enjoy representing players," he says, "but it helps motivate me that I'll be able to offer my kids the opportunity to work where I work."
One night Eric sits in front of his bedroom mirror, sprucing himself up for college basketball's Wooden Awards, at the Biltmore Hotel. He is fresh off his backstage success at the Grammys, where he schmoozed with Janet Jackson, Gwen Stefani, Alicia Keys, Bob Dylan and Bono. For his next move, he wants to meet Duke's Jay Williams and get him to sign a basketball. Arn wants to meet Williams, too, and get the college player of the year to sign a contract. "Don't get your hopes up," Arn tells his son. "It might not happen."
"We've got to try," says Eric, patting Dad on the back. Then, running a brush through his gelled hair, Little Tellem gazes approvingly in the mirror and announces, "I love this business!"