Jay Schweid has spent the last decade pulling strings for Andre Agassi, which in the tennis world means he has woven nearly 200,000 feet—or 36 miles—of string into Agassi's rackets. Schweid's New York City company, Jay's Custom Stringing Inc., counts more than 60 touring pros among its clients, including Andy Roddick, Marat Safin and Jennifer Capriati, and grosses about $1 million annually. (Schweid, 39, is also the U.S. Open's official on-site stringer.) Agassi, however, is in a client category all his own. Schweid travels to every tournament Agassi plays, and he's on call 365 days a year to tend to his rackets. Schweid's deal with Agassi pays six figures per year and covers lodging, food and other expenses incurred on the road. "It's kind of like being a roadie in a rock and roll band," Schweid says. "You're not famous, but you're part of it. And that's pretty cool."
Latrell's Car Guy
As teens in Milwaukee, Latrell and Terran Sprewell spent summer nights racing souped-up Camaros on Power Road. "We were always fixing up our cars," says Terran, 36. "One day we decided we should open a shop." In 1998 the brothers started Sprewell Racing in San Gabriel, Calif., and the car-customizing shop rapidly became a place for the ultrarich—including Shaquille O'Neal and Martin Lawrence—to outfit their rides. Webber bought a Mercedes S600 at the shop (which has a dealer's license), added ground effects, upgraded the wheels and put in a new sound system. Total outlay: $200,000. "You rarely have a regular Joe come in and spend $50,000, so we network," says Terran. "Latrell is out talking about his shop. Players see his cars, and they give us a call."
Tiger's Pants Man
Tiger woods may stroll the links in a wardrobe stamped hat-to-spats with swooshes, but Cary Mitchell wants people to know that not everything they see is corporate handiwork. Mitchell, 43, a designer and tailor from Charlotte, has been Woods's personal pantsmaker for six years. "I'm paid by Nike," says Mitchell, "but they don't sell my designs. When Tiger orders his pants, I send them to Nike and they give them to him." Mitchell makes about 40 pairs of slacks a year for Woods, mostly using a tropical-weight wool blend, which breathes easily. They're also a bit roomier than normal dress pants. "The traditional custom-made slacks I sell to athletes are $300, but I give Nike a break," Mitchell says. "It's a good trade-off."
Mitchell is also in demand in NBA circles. The Charlotte Bobcats asked him to design their uniforms. "Nobody makes an orange uni," Mitchell says. "I think that would be pretty popular."
Houston rockets guard Cuttino Mobley knows fine dishes, and not just those on the court. At home he feeds off the work of his chef, Chermayne Kennedy-Busch. A Louisiana native and culinary school grad, Kennedy-Busch, 33, provides soup-to-nuts service for Mobley, shopping for, preparing and serving three squares a day in his Houston-area home or his loft near the Toyota Center. Kennedy-Busch, who worked for Mobley's backcourt mate Steve Francis during the 2002-03 season, is starting an agency to help other players locate chefs. "People hear that players are rowdy young millionaires," says Kennedy-Busch, who is paid from $800 to $1,200 a week by Mobley. "But I've found them to be respectable, hardworking, fun guys who know they need a good diet to maintain their strength. The demand is there."