In early May, Executive Editor Abraham Madkour sat down with former HBO Sports President and MSG head Seth Abraham to talk about his lessons of more than 40 years in the sports business. During their conversation, Abraham talked about his career and discussed one of the “strangest” interviews he ever had for a job.
|Abraham said one of the strangest job interviews he ever had was with HBO's Michael Fuchs.
Photo by: PATRICK E. MCCARTHY
“One of the strangest interviews I’ve ever had was with the head of programming from HBO, Michael Fuchs, who went on to become my boss for 18 years and a very close personal friend. Through an intermediary, I go to see Michael about a job at HBO Sports. I was working at Major League Baseball, I love baseball, and frankly I had aspirations that maybe one day I could become commissioner. Why not? So I go to see Michael and before I even sat down in his office, I haven’t even sat down yet, he says to me, ‘Why are you wasting my time?’ I said, ‘Excuse me?’ He said, ‘There are 150 guys who would kill for this job, what are you doing here wasting my time? Take the goddamn job.’ I haven’t sat in his office yet, I’m standing. I said, ‘Michael, you have this wrong. You are the seducer, I am the seducee.’ We almost get into a fight. I still haven’t sat down. I’m standing. And I said, ‘You know what, this is a crazy place if you are running it,’ and I walked out. And I left. Came home, it was a Friday, and I told my wife, I said, ‘Well, this was a weird day,’ and I tell her what happened. Then the phone rings. It’s Michael’s secretary, at 7 p.m. She said, ‘Michael would like to have lunch with you tomorrow in Bridge Hampton.’ And I said, ‘Excuse me?’ She responded, ‘Yes, Michael would like to have lunch with you in Bridge Hampton.’ I said to his assistant, ‘Marie, do you know what happened?’ ‘Oh yes, yes, yes,’ she said. ‘But Michael loves the fact that you wouldn’t be pushed around.’ So sure enough the next day Lynn and I drove out to Bridge Hampton and had lunch at Michael’s summer house. Michael offered me the job and I’m thinking to myself, this is so strange from what happened 24 hours ago, now he is offering me the job. But it is double my baseball salary — double my salary, at this time! It is 1977, I am 30. And he offered to double my salary! So I went back to my boss at baseball, Bowie Kuhn, and he said, ‘Take it. Absolutely take it.’ So I joined HBO Sports, Michael doubled my salary and for 18 years he was a great boss and so much of what I became as an executive at HBO and with Madison Square Garden was because of Michael.”
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Part 1: Trusting The People You Hire