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
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. Chris 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." --Gene Menez
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." --Mark
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." --Pete McEntegart
COLOR PHOTO: PETER GREGOIRE
COLOR PHOTO: WELCH GOLIGHTLY
COLOR PHOTO: PAM FRANCIS
COLOR PHOTO: VERN EVANS