Show Business, Not Show Friends

Many moviegoers give too much attention to a popular quote from the 1996 film “Jerry Maguire” instead of another more important quote from the movie.

In “Jerry Maguire,” Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) famously told his sports agent Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) to “show me the money.”

However Bob Sugar’s quote holds more weight in my opinion when it comes to friendship and business.

Sports agent Bob Sugar (Jay Mohr) said “its show business, not show friends.”

Every aspiring athlete, entertainer and media personality should post that quote in their phone or on their vision board because keeping that quote in mind will make a huge difference in the trajectory of their careers.

There is something about the entertainment business that excites many people outside of the business.

Many people see the bright lights of television, movies, sports and music and get excited at the prospect of getting famous even if they had no interest in the business before their friends and/or family members got involved with the entertainment business.

Couple that with the fact that many athletes, rappers and singers are the first in their families to achieve generational wealth, or the first of the friends to make it out of the hood and many in the limelight experience survivor’s remorse early in their career.

But if their career is to survive and enjoy longevity in a fickle business, the people involved in the sports and entertainment business have to remember that they’re in a business and not in it for play-play.

Therefore, anybody that they bring with them from their circle of family, friends, fraternity brothers or church members has to bring value to their movement.

If a friend or family member is not an asset, they are most definitely a liability.

When one begins to experience success in certain lines of work, many people want to be involved.

And while it is great to bring family members and friends along for the ride, make sure that the particular person in your entourage or inner-circle serves a purpose or is qualified to do the job that you hired them to do.

Because if the person is not truly qualified, and does not serve a purpose, they will most definitely make you look bad, which might strain certain relationships that you have within your business.

Former NFL star quarterback and current television personality Michael Vick is a perfect example of why a celebrity might have to separate themselves from old friends if they want to continue their successful career.

At the height of Vick’s popularity with the Atlanta Falcons, he got caught up in a dogfighting ring.

Vick had many of his old friends living in his Virginia home at the time.

Behind the home, those friends and Vick ran a brutal and deadly dogfighting ring.

Vick’s financial advisor at the time told him that none of his friends even had jobs.

His friends’ jobs were to get money from Vick as if he was a never-ending ATM machine or a winning lottery ticket.

The quarterback’s friends were not like LeBron James’ childhood friends who educated themselves on the business that James was getting into and proved themselves valuable members of his team.

Vick’s friends were just old buddies from his past that did not fit his present or his future.

However, not wanting to “change” and distance himself from his upbringing, Vick kept his longtime buddies around him and in his inner circle.

But when Vick got sentenced to jail for the dogfighting operation, many of those so-called friends bailed and ratted on him about his involvement in the dogfighting operation.

Thankfully, Vick rebounded from his failings and resurrected his career through the grace of God.

He starred for several other teams, most notably the Philadelphia Eagles, before retiring and becoming a football analyst for Fox.

God blessed Vick with a second chance that he took advantage of.

But what if God had not given Vick back all that he had lost, and more?

His story could have really had a tragic ending because he could not separate friendship from business.

As a result of Vick’s almost cautionary tale, people should use him as an example and learn how to say no before that person’s industry says no to them, permanently.

Some friendships will run their course after childhood and there is nothing wrong with that.

It is not an athlete or entertainer’s responsibility to take care of their entire high school class just because they made a little bit of money.

Likewise, everyone that wants to come along for the ride and wants to sing or rap on a song, appear on television should not get that opportunity.

If a person brings value then they should be added to the mix.

If not, it is O.K. to be friends with people and not do business with them.

If an intoxicated relative curses out a mover and shaker in your business at an industry event, that big wig might hold it against you, which will hurt your future business dealings with that person or their company.

Would you rather hurt someone’s feelings or let that person hurt your opportunity and damage all that you have worked for?

Young people, especially, have to learn how to separate their business life from their personal life.

Everyone that you have met throughout your life will not make a good business partner or an employee.

Likewise, everyone that you do business with does not have to be someone that you would hang out with in your personal time.

To paraphrase “Jerry Maguire,” if you do not realize that it is called “show business, not show friends,” you will not get to the point in your career that people will show you the real money.

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