The past forty-eight hours have been rough for those wishing the 'Skins had made it to the next round of the play-offs so maybe this look into the life of former player Clinton Portis will cheer up the sad souls still mourning the loss against the Seahawks. He's the star of the Scoring The Deal premiere tonight on HGTV in which luxury real estate agent Jason Abrams travels the country trying to find the most pimped out pads for his sportstar clients. Curbed spoke to Abrams by phone about how he got this job in the first place and what we can expect from tonight's episode. Read on for some stories about Portis (and, er, his stripper pole).
You go into these cities looking for the 'best in show' as you call it. What does that mean?
Number one, it has to fit. For example, when you think about it the average closet has 36 inches of what they call 'long hang' which you might use for gowns or something. You know how frustrating it is to hang up all your clothes and everything hits the shelf below it. That's what happens to these guys. Everything has a crease. These are the things that nobody thinks about. Then think about trying to use a standard kitchen table and chairs and then realizing you're lucky if you get one butt cheek on it. It's gets really old really quick. A lot of the times they just want to find a house that fits their stature.
Besides that it has to happen fast. We're finding homes for these guys in real time. They need to move that day. Can you imagine if you got a phone call tomorrow that said you had twenty-four hours to report to a new city? It's kiss the kids, I'll see you in nine months.
So many professional athletes homes have such over-the-top, sometimes completely wacky, amenities. How do you find those?
Forget about finding a house that fits their personality. These guys have been dominant in their profession their entire lives. The reality is to be a blue chip athlete in one of the major leagues means that you were the best in LIttle League, the best in high school, the best in college, and now you're a professional. Which means you probably don't settle for a whole lot of things. So when they walk into a home that is beige, maybe that doesn't have enough flair for them. So these guys end up doing a lot of redecorating. We're talking bright colors. Amazing pieces of art. We're talking wanting to have something that no one else has. In some cases that ends up being exotic dancing poles. In Clinton' Portis' case it became black leather wall paper.
Great that you mention former Redskin Clinton Portis and even better that he's the star of the series premiere. What are we going to see in his episode?
You're going to see a pool that is perched on the roof of a high rise building with some of the most amazing views of intercoastal Miami. You're really no one until you have you're own roof top pool (laughs). This isn't in the episode, but Clinton and I spent a little bit over Christmas together at the White House packaging supplies for the troops. Everyone is walking through and looking at the trees and then they realize ohmygod, it's Clinton Portis. And the line that formed within minutes was huge. That guy is so beloved in DC. All of a sudden it became secondary that they were all in the White House.
Since he's such a popular DC personality can you tell us anything else we might not know about him?
Clinton has been a client of ours for almost a decade. I consider him a dear, dear friend. Having sold for him all over the country I can tell you that everyone of his houses is amazingly unique. And he does all of the decorating himself. He picks the color palate, he looks for the furniture himself. His McLean house doesn't look anything like his penthouse in Miami which doesn't look anything like his sprawling estate in Gainesville.
Your business can't have started with Clinton Portis. How did you get into this?
I can trace it all back to one moment. I had a first [athlete] client in Detroit, Michigan who I helped buy a house. Then on a whim I decided to fly out to meet his financial advisor and his agent, unannounced, just to say thank you. I figured, this is cool, I'm going to go on my first ever business trip now. I was in my early twenties. His financial advisor was great. He said thank you, I shook his hand. Then I flew to LA to meet his agent and I never made it past the receptionist. But I left a little note. Two weeks later the phone rang and it was the agent and he said no one had ever come all that way just to say thank you before and could I handle another client. Who also happens to be in Michigan. So I sold that person a house and then the next week the financial advisor called and said, we have somebody but he's in a different state do you do anything anywhere else? I said yes, of course! And then I hung and realized what I had just said and then created a business really quickly. I'm in the unique position of being able to trace my entire success back to one day of thank yous.