Darren Prince (@agent_dp) is a prominent sports and celebrity agent and global advocate for addiction and recovery. His book Aiming High: How a Prominent Sports and Celebrity Agent Hit Bottom at the Top is out now.
[Featured photo by Ryan Hartford of Ecliptic Media]
What We Discuss with Darren Prince:
- How Darren was making multiple six figures by the time he was old enough to drive.
- What got Darren started on a 24-year journey of addiction and how he found the exit to a recovery that’s been going on for 11 years strong now.
- What it’s like to go drinking with Dennis Rodman and rely on him to be the responsible one when it’s time to wake up and go to work the next morning.
- What Darren does to fulfill his mission to help others avoid and break free from addiction.
- Lots of celebrity stories from someone who’s not just an agent for his clients — he’s also their fan.
- And much more…
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Selling your company for a million bucks at the tender age of 20 and starting your own talent agent to represent some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment — including Magic Johnson, Hulk Hogan, Charlie Sheen, Pamela Anderson, Chevy Chase, Dennis Rodman, Evel Knievel, Carmen Electra, Joe Frazier, and Muhammad Ali — would be a pretty mighty feat by anyone’s standards. But if you ask the man who did just this — Prince Marketing Group head honcho Darren Prince — what his biggest and most important accomplishment is so far, he’ll tell you it’s his choice to become a recovering addict and the 11 years he’s lived clean and sober since.
In this episode Darren shares a story of soaring heights and crawling lows, as chronicled in his book Aiming High: How a Prominent Sports and Celebrity Agent Hit Bottom at the Top. Here, he explains how he held his empire together in spite of being addicted to opioids for 24 years, what led to his recovery, and how he now helps others who have made similar life detours find their way back. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
Please Scroll down for Video, Featured Resources, and Transcript!
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The Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast presents interviews with exercise, diet, and medical professionals, and an entertaining mash-up of ancestral wisdom and modern science, along with Q&As and mind-body-spirit optimizing content from America’s top personal trainer. Listen here or wherever you get your podcasts.
THANKS, DARREN PRINCE!
If you enjoyed this session with Darren Prince, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Instagram:
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at email@example.com.
Resources from This Episode:
- Aiming High: How a Prominent Sports and Celebrity Agent Hit Bottom at the Top by Darren Prince and Kristen McGuiness
- Prince Marketing Group
- Darren Prince’s Website
- Darren Prince at Instagram
- Darren Prince at Twitter
- Darren Prince at Facebook
- Earvin Magic Johnson at Twitter
- Smokin’ Joe Frazier at Twitter
- Muhammad Ali, Wikipedia
- Pamela Anderson at Twitter
- Charlie Sheen at Twitter
- Chevy Chase at Twitter
- Evel Knievel, Wikipedia
- Hulk Hogan at Twitter
- Joe Montana at Twitter
- Dennis Rodman | The Worm Is Back, TJHS 258
- Magic Johnson Celebrates Life 25 Years after HIV Diagnosis, MD Magazine
- Elliot Lovi of Livingston is the NJ.com Boys Tennis Coach of the Year for 2015, NJ.com
- Deep Dive | How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome, TJHS 127
- Demerol (Meperidine) Side Effects, Interactions, Warnings, RxList
- Vicodin (Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen) Side Effects, Interactions, Warnings, RxList
- Adderall (Amphetamine, Dextroamphetamine Mixed Salts) Side Effects, Interactions, Warnings, RxList
- Ritalin (Methylphenidate HCL) Side Effects, Interactions, Warnings, RxList
- ADD vs. ADHD Symptoms: 3 Types of Attention Deficit, Attitude
- The Most Addictive Prescription Drugs on the Market, Healthline
- Beckett Baseball Card Price Guide 2019
- Anyone Here Remember CCP? Collectors Universe
- Mickey Mantle, Baseball Hall of Fame
- Reggie Jackson, Baseball Hall of Fame
- Steve Simon, Prince Marketing Group
- A Night at the Roxbury
- Vintage Bell Atlantic Portable Phone 1980s, eBay
- Dennis Rodman: From Airport Janitor to Kim Jong-un’s Friend by Charles Ross, Medium
- Ric Flair at Twitter
- The 12 Steps Of AA, Alcoholics Anonymous Program
- Jen Cohen at Instagram
- Inflation Calculator: Find US Dollar’s Value from 1913-2019
- Darryl Strawberry Stats, Baseball Reference
- Actuaries, Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Barry Halper, Noted Memorabilia Collector, Dies at 66, ESPN
- Meet the Man behind the Loud, Iconic Jackets Worn by NBA Stars, USA Today Sports
- Heavyweight of Hustle : At 21, Harlan J. Werner is a Star on the Sports Memorabilia Circuit, Los Angeles Times
- Lon Rosen, L.A. Dodgers
- Magic Johnson Thanks Executive Assistant Natalie Wilson, Executive Assistants Organization
- Chris Volo, Prince Marketing Group
- A Brief Guide to Dennis Rodman’s Long, Weird History with North Korea, The Washington Post
- Dennis One-on-One, Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew
- 5 Myths about Using Suboxone to Treat Opiate Addiction, Harvard Medical School
- Jason Binn at Instagram
- Dolophine (Methadone Hydrochloride) Side Effects, Interactions, Warnings, RxList
- Kristen McGuiness at Twitter
- Iceberg Slim, Wikipedia
- The Arsenio Hall Show, Wikipedia
- Danny Zuker at Twitter
- Will Soho Be the Little Soda That Could? The New York Times
- Sally Jessy Raphael at Twitter
- Tip “T.I.” Harris | ExpediTIously Expressive, TJHS 262
- Flavor Flav at Twitter
- Mark Cuban at Twitter
- Jeanie Buss at Twitter
- Patrick Ganino at Twitter
- The Opioid Epidemic, Explained, Vox
- Drug Facts: Anabolic Steroids, NIH
- Xanax (Alprazolam) Side Effects, Interactions, Warnings, RxList
- Facts About the Psychoactive Drug Ecstasy (MDMA), Verywell Mind
- Sciatica Symptoms and Causes, The Mayo Clinic
- Mondrian Los Angeles Hotel
- ESPY Awards
- Tom Brady at Facebook
- Samuel L. Jackson at Twitter
- Kobe Bryant | Dissecting the Mamba Mentality, TJHS 249
- Roy Jones Jr. at Twitter
- Bilirubin Test, The Mayo Clinic
- Radio’s Rush Limbaugh Suffers Rapid Hearing Loss, The Washington Post
- The Crystal Method
- Tuff Stuff
- This Prince Has Royal Connections, Sports Collectors Digest
- Michael Jordan, Wikipedia
- Lewis Howes at Twitter
- Jay Shetty at Twitter
- Gary Vaynerchuk at Twitter
- Dave Winfield at Twitter
- Darren Prince: Aiming High: How Magic Johnson and Hulk Hogan’s Agent Fell So Far and Bounced Back, The Playbook with David Meltzer
- Dennis Rodman on his Friendships with President Trump and Kim Jong-Un, The Fox News Rundown
- Celebrity BB: Rodman and Galloway Evicted, Manchester Evening News
- Shane Smith at Twitter
- Vice Media
- Gangnam Style by Psy
- Dennis Rodman’s Agent Didn’t Know The Difference Between North And South Korea, Daily Caller
- C-SPAN North Korea Cold Open, SNL, NBC
Transcript for Darren Prince | Hitting Bottom at the Top (Episode 274)
Jordan Harbinger: [00:00:03] Welcome to the show. I’m Jordan Harbinger. As always, I’m here with producer Jason DeFillippo. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world’s most brilliant and interesting people and turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you.[00:00:18] Darren Prince, The Prince of Cards, is one of the most successful sports agents with an absolutely insane origin story. This is a guy who was addicted to opiates for 24 years starting at age 14, 14. He was making multiple six figures by the time he was old enough to drive and repping Magic Johnson, Smokin’ Joe Frazier, Muhammad Ali, Pam Anderson, Charlie Sheen, Chevy Chase, Evel Knievel, Hulk Hogan, and others even in his 20s. Today, we’ll hear how he held his empire together while his own life was falling apart and some of the lessons many of which are quite humbling during his tenure as an agent and his sobriety, now 11 years strong and counting. I really clicked with Darren and I thought this was not only a great story but there were a lot of teachable moments as well. [00:01:04] I met Darren through my network as I am once to do when I’m teaching you how to network for personal and professional reasons all for free in Six-Minute Networking. It takes five to six minutes a day. Hence, the name, jordanharbinger.com/course is where you can find that. And by the way, most of the guests on the show actually subscribe to the course and the newsletter, so come join us and you’ll be in great company. Here’s Darren Prince.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:01:29] I read your book a long time ago. And Jen was like, “Hey, there’s this guy who’s an agent. You should check him out.” I was like, “Already have his book.” I was like, “Oh, interesting. Sports agent, like, probably a lawyer.” No?
Darren Prince: [00:01:45] Complete opposite.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:01:46] And that’s interesting for me because I went to law school and a lot of my friends are like, “I’m going to be a sports agent. I’m going to be a sports agent. You know, this is what we’re going to do. I’m going to be a sports agent.” And so I figured out this guy’s probably like, I could have just done what this guy did because he’s probably a lawyer too! Not quite.
Darren Prince: [00:02:00] So you’d like to start on my dad, fly fishing in Alaska? I go, “Dad, I really want to be an agent, but I’m not a lawyer.” May he rest in peace. He looked at me. I remember it like yesterday. He goes, “Lawyer? See you’ve got the most amazing relationships in the world. Any lawyer would kill to have access to go to Muhammad Ali’s house in Berrien Springs, Michigan and go to Magic’s house in Beverly Park and call up Joe Montana or, you know, Hulk Hogan. It’s all about who you know, Darren, and not what you know.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:27] It almost seems like you fell into some of this stuff. In the book, I’m sure it’s condensed, but it’s like… “Oh, I’m running into Magic Johnson. And then I called Pamela Anderson.” It’s like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, who are you calling, and how do you even start these relationships?”
Darren Prince: [00:02:41] It started from the baseball card business that eventually evolved into sports and celebrity memorabilia. That was very, very unorthodox.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:48] On the show, I’m a big fan of using people’s past or even current adversity as a competitive advantage or a superpower. And what I think is interesting is your clients are, among others, Dennis Rodman, Hulk Hogan, Charlie Sheen. It’s a little bit like looking at a TMZ roster of people that may or may not have had some other issues in the past. Do you think you have an ability to relate to some of your clients better, like Dennis Rodman maybe, because of your past struggle with sobriety?
Darren Prince: [00:03:16] I think so. I also fully believe that America, in general, loves a good comeback story. I think all those guys have come back tremendously. Dennis, I always say, is a rebound king in life. You know, you can never count him out. Everybody’s had something. Nobody’s off the table. Even Magic Johnson had his issues years ago obviously, and with the HIV announcement and I mean what he’s done, what he does to give back to the community and to businesses and all over the world, nobody’s done it like Magic Johnson has.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:43] You started as a special ed kid from New Jersey?
Darren Prince: [00:03:45] Yes.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:46] Yeah. I mean that’s not the usual path to becoming one of the most successful sports agents. I assumed at that age you, yourself, might have even written yourself off as —
Darren Prince: [00:03:56] Absolutely, you know, you listen to teachers. They tell you what you can and can’t do and you start believing it. My intro to business teacher, Elliot Lovi was his name, and I had a class with him and he wanted everybody to go home and create a business. And I remember being 13 years old and having this imagination that I was kind of this awkward, I don’t want to say geeky, but felt like an outcast. I had this big baseball card collection that I amassed and that became my business. Eventually, it turned into a real business and gave me a little bit of self-confidence.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:25] So you weren’t planning to turn it into a business. It was an assignment from your teacher?
Darren Prince: [00:04:28] Exactly.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:29] That’s interesting. Did he ever know that you were crushing?
Darren Prince: [00:04:31] To this day, I went back and I spoke at my high school three months ago and we still talk about it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:35] He’s still there?
Darren Prince: [00:04:37] He’s still there.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:37] How old is he?
Darren Prince: [00:04:38] He’s a legendary tennis coach. He has won several state championships and he’s probably in his early 70s now. He knew that something was different about me and something was special, because he would tell me to stay after class, “I’m going to spend a little bit extra time you.” He saw the way my brain functioned and the way my brain worked — the same way my father did. And he pulled that out of me. He knew that 90% of what all the kids were doing wasn’t good for Darren Prince, but I had this little 10% that none of them had.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:05] It’s funny that he spotted that, because I think public school’s actually not set up at all to reward people who are entrepreneurial thinkers. My teachers used to do the same thing. They were like, “Oh, your son doesn’t listen, he can’t color inside the lines,” that was literally a critique I would get, and I’m still coloring outside the lines. This is not a real job that I have! This is a fake, made-up sham that somehow caught fire.
Darren Prince: [00:05:28] Absolutely. Lightning in a bottle is what happened to both of us. It keeps happening.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:34] Yeah, but it’s screws you up, right? Because you have this imposter syndrome, which there was no name for that back then. It was just, “You’re right, you shouldn’t be here.” If you feel that way, you probably shouldn’t be in the room.
Darren Prince: [00:05:45] Absolutely.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:46] And I know you suffered from that a lot, especially when you’re starting to meet Muhammad Ali and Smokin’ Joe, and you’re just sitting there. What’s going through your head when you’re with these guys?
Darren Prince: [00:05:54] I only knew how to do it in one way. I knew from the business side and the networking side and the entrepreneurial side, I knew what I was doing, but I felt so uncomfortable inside. I was always looking for that outside fix that was the inside job, and the only way I could do it was honestly I had to be high on opiates. For years it was Oxycontin, Vicodin, Percocets were my best friends, and nobody knew about it but me. And I like to build a very successful agency through that. Like I tell kids today when I speak, I would come back in a time machine in a second to trade that feeling of not wanting to wake up in the morning.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:26] Really? You must have got pretty dark. And I want to rewind it a little bit, because, how do you even think to get started on opiates? I mean, you started younger than literally anybody, probably, that you’d met.
Darren Prince: [00:06:36] 14 years old, I was in sleepaway camp. I told a counselor that I had horrible stomach pains. This nurse, her name was Greta, she gave me this green liquid and I took a shot. It tasted horrible. As I’m walking across the softball field, all those inadequacies and feelings we just talked about — of less than, not being a part of, not feeling as equal — went away like that.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:55] Wow.
Darren Prince: [00:06:55] In those five, 10 seconds, my life changed forever. I wanted more of it. I now felt just as good, just as smart, just as popular, just as cool, just as funny. I got back to the bunk, the guys were laughing with me. I got the courage to go to the bunk next door, for the first time in my life I was flirting with girls at 14 years old, fearless. And I went to bed thinking nothing of it. The next day I woke up, did all my activities that you do in summer camp, and that next night, I’m looking up at the sky thinking, “That feeling was amazing last night,” but there was no stomach pain. I looked at the counselor, I heeled over, I said, “Ma’am, my stomach is killing me. We got to go back.” I did it for three straight weeks. That magic green liquid — until I found that it was liquid Demerol.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:32] Demerol for a 14-year-old kid. I mean, wow. Any license you may or may not have had should be revoked, I would imagine at that time, as a nurse. Is it not insanely irresponsible? “Hey, Darren, how’s the stomach ache for two weeks in a row? Maybe he should see a doctor.” Nobody thought about that?
Darren Prince: [00:07:47] Back then, I guess not. I mean, I know there were points for she was kind of telling me, “You know, maybe you should get some x-rays. Maybe you got some ultrasounds done,” and I was like, “No, it helps. I go to sleep every time I take it,” and it was my parents that came up for visitation day to meet with her because they heard about it, and my mom obviously lost her crap. When she found out, she said the same thing. “Why would you not call me?” Here’s the thing, and as an advocate, I don’t blame the nurse. Because it still would have happened. Six months later, I was at a dentist’s appointment, getting my wisdom teeth removed. And I lied to my mom after the eight Vicodins were gone. I went downstairs holding my cheek. I said, “Mom, I don’t know what’s going on. We’ve got to go back to the dentist.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:08:23] That’s an argument for addict behavior being genetic or inborn or something like that.
Darren Prince: [00:08:27] I know doctors will tell you that. I don’t believe in genetics for me. I believe I never spoke up about feeling less than. I believe that it was a personality dysfunction and because I didn’t have the courage and I couldn’t be real enough with my teachers and my friends and my parents to speak up and say, “I feel this way. Why do I feel this way? I need some help.” That’s why it all spiraled out of control.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:08:49] Yeah, that’s, ah, man, but at age 14, you’re not thinking, “I’m addicted to this,” you’re thinking, “I found the magic freaking —
Darren Prince: [00:08:54] Potion.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:08:55] — potion.” I took Adderall and I started in college. And I remember this resonated really well with me from your book, because I took this Adderall pill that I’d gotten from my girlfriend because she’s like, “You’re ADD. I can tell. You’re just like my brother, you’re just like my brother,” so she goes and grabs one and I took one and I went, “Holy shit. This is how normal people feel every day! They’re not trying so hard to pay attention to what the teacher is saying and then being like, ‘I wonder if that light is like the same kind of light as that — shit! where are we again in the book?” And then the teacher’s like, ”You’re an idiot. What are you doing here?” And I thought, “If I can take this every day, I’m going to be just fine in college. I’m going to be just fine in law school. I just doubled my capacity to learn. I feel funny. I feel awake and alive. Everyone’s laughing at my jokes, and those that aren’t, I don’t even care.” Whereas that would have sent me back to my dorm room, like, “She doesn’t like me!” None of that anymore, all gone. And that was a scary feeling after a while because I was taking it every day. I got a prescription for it, by the way, by telling the doctor. “Hey, so I took my friend’s brother’s medication and it worked great,” and he’s like, “Sure enough. Here you go.” Amphetamines, which is what Adderall really is, looking back, I’m going, “What are you thinking? Isn’t there a test for this?” But that’s a little scary now because I remember taking it, taking it, and taking it, and then summer came around — the Beetlejuice chair’s so loud. I was taking it, taking it, taking it, summer came around, and I go, “Well, I’m just going to keep refilling this shit,” and my girlfriend’s like, “Why? We don’t have school.” And I was like, “Have you seen me on and off? I mean, why would I stop doing it?”
Darren Prince: [00:10:32] “Don’t make me stop doing it!”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:33] And I go to the doctor, and he goes, “Hey, you know kids are dying from taking this? They’re having heart attacks.” And I was like, “Ah, that won’t happen to me,” which is what all addicts, I think, do. But when a doctor prescribes it —
Darren Prince: [00:10:44] It’s okay.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:45] It’s okay. That went on for years until I went, “You know, the doctor that prescribed this to me was an idiot and I knew that at the time, so I don’t think the fact that I have this piece of paper means that my brain is fine with it.”
Darren Prince: [00:10:56] There you go.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:57] But that took me a long time to come around. And I don’t know if amphetamines are as addictive as opiates. I don’t really know if there’s a scale.
Darren Prince: [00:11:04] There’s a lot of people in the world that are recovering from Adderall and Ritalin.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:07] Yeah, if I hadn’t been taking extended-release, I think we might be having this conversation while I’m crushing them up in the bathroom and putting it up my nose. It’s hard to say. It didn’t even occur to me until I read this book that I probably had that. So you’re 14, you’re kind of hooked on Demerol. How are you getting it at 14 after camp?
Darren Prince: [00:11:27] It took me probably about a year until I was able to start getting it either from the streets or at just friends’ parents that had it. That’s when I started making money. I sat down with my dad one night. I was 14 years old. I said, “I need to get insurance on my baseball cards.” He thought I was nuts. “What do you mean insurance?” I said, “I need about eight or nine worth of insurance.” He’s like, “All right. Can you bring down a list so I can see this?” and he’s like, “Darren, it says eight or nine thousand.” I was like, “Yeah, I’m not talking eight or nine hundred.” He goes, “How the hell do you up eight or nine thousand worth of cards?” I’m showing him this price guide, anybody I collected back in the ’80s.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:57] Beckett?
Darren Prince: [00:11:58] It’s called CCP. Everybody says Beckett. The Current Card Price Guide. It was a newspaper. CCP came out before Beckett. And I sat down with him and he challenged me. He goes, “Who’s going to buy this stuff? This Mickey Mantle card for $200. This Reggie Jackson rookie for $75.” I said, “Oh, it’s funny you should ask.” I pulled up this newspaper ad, and there was a show at the Holiday Inn in Livingston, New Jersey for $25. I got a table and I shared it with my good friend, Steve Simon, who runs my agency to this day. He went into it. We shared the table. He went into it as a hobby, just maybe have a fun day selling cards. I went into it as a business. I spent two weeks every night. The perfect holders, the perfect price guides, and made over $1,000 on a Sunday afternoon at 14 years old. Then the lightbulb went on. So now I had money, I was deeply insecure, apparently, a severe learning disability. I had this passion and this love already with opiates.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:47] Yeah. Oh man, that is a recipe for disaster — insecure, starts making money way too early. I mean if there was a YouTube back then you’d just be —
Darren Prince: [00:12:556] I’d be a billionaire.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:57] Yeah. Yeah. It might have ended tragically a little earlier. Yeah, but I would imagine like you’re in school, you’re ADD, you can’t focus. Amen, brother, I hear you on that. I mean, that’s the story of my life. My mom was a special ed teacher; that’s probably why I wasn’t in special ed, because she was like, “No, my son’s not in special ed. I teach special ed.” But I think half my teachers were like, “This kid is going to be in prison,” the other half that were teaching these I was actually interested in, like science, they were like, “He should be in the gifted program.” So they were butting heads like, “Wait, he’s not a total a-hole idiot in your class?” I’m sure you had one or two teachers that thought you were special, and the rest of them were like, “Is this thing on? You’re a knucklehead.”
Darren Prince: [00:13:37] I had two teachers. That’s exactly what it was. Two that believed in me.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:13:41] The other element of this, you’re in the baseball card trade, I would imagine that you’re thinking as a teenager, “I got a car or two. I’ve got my magic potion that nobody has to know about. Girls are starting to pay attention because I’m the only guy who can fill the car with gas and drive a new car and I’m not picking her up on my bike.” You probably thought, “I can hold this shit together. I’m faking it. Everyone’s believing this, so I’m good.”
Darren Prince: [00:14:02] Absolutely.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:04] I went to an AA meeting with a friend of mine, several times, because I’m curious about this stuff. And a lot of people told stories like that. Like you fake it until suddenly you realize everyone knows, but you’re the last one in on the joke.
Darren Prince: [00:14:16] That the gig is up.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:17] Yeah.
Darren Prince: [00:14:18] That’s exactly what happened.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:19] You’re getting heavy in the baseball card trade. I’m finding it really funny that the guy that you started with now works with you. I mean, what are the odds of that?
Darren Prince: [00:14:27] I know, and he’s great. We still laugh about it to this day. I mean, he does amazing in my agency. So he’s vice president, and he was with me during a very special time in my life, and he’s there again now.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:37] Terrible at selling baseball cards, really good at wrangling A-list talent.
Darren Prince: [00:14:41] Exactly.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:42] So you’re dealing with adults though as a kid, you’re 14, 15.
Darren Prince: [00:14:45] I was the only person in school, teachers included, that had a cellphone. Back then, it was called Bell Atlantic. Not the big rubber ones that you saw in A Night at the Roxbury. These were a big, metal, aluminum battery on the bottom of a leather case with a rubber antenna. It was Bell Atlantic. It would be in my locker in between class, and it was three dollars a minute to use this phone. So I would call stockbrokers in between classes to find out what cards they wanted. There was no Internet back then. No texting. I would have to call different dealers to get the cards. “Hey, bring it to the show this week and I’ll pick it up.” I’d buy Mickey Mantle card for $2,000. I flipped to the investor for $3,000. That was my life.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:15:19] Unbelievable. And your teachers didn’t care that you had a cell phone in the school?
Darren Prince: [00:15:23] Well, it was in between class. I was respectful enough to not — because my dad always put me on notice. He was big on education. My mom was more so, but my dad had that business hustle. He was always a successful businessman. He knew this was my calling. He knew school wasn’t for me.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:15:38] That’s lucky, though, right? I mean they could have just tried to hammer you into that square hole.
Darren Prince: [00:15:42] I got a lot of trouble in college because of my business. I dropped out after one year.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:15:45] What did your dad think of all this? I mean, he must have had first been like, “Ah, you should probably focus on school.” Like what was the turning point where he went, “Okay — ”
Darren Prince: [00:15:53] He knew the second weekend, because I think I made about $2,000 after making $1,000 the week before. And being an old-school Jewish father, it really lit him up. He was a big-time entrepreneur, very successful at a very young age.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:16:05] What did he do?
Darren Prince: [00:16:06] He was in direct mail coupon advertising, something similar to Valpak.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:16:10] Got it.
Darren Prince: [00:16:11] But it was all over the state of New Jersey. So to see his son have this hustle in him and having no clue what I’m doing, but he saw me go to one end of the room with a lot of cash, come back with a bunch of cards, and then see by the end of the show four hours later, those cards got into a double wad of cash that I had in the morning we got to the show.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:16:29] Like, “You have twice as many cards and twice as much cash — what’s happening right now?”
Darren Prince: [00:16:33] Because again the insecurities and the feeling of less than and in that show on that floor, I felt so alive. But I was always back in my bedroom by myself at night; I felt like that broken piece of crap again. I always felt like I didn’t belong, so I would lie about the money. He would ask me how much did I make, let’s go over it, and I’d stuff a couple thousand under the mattress because, hey, it’s a 15, 16-year old kid driving to high school. I needed it. I needed to have that money in my pockets so I could take people out for lunch, for dinner, take my friends out, take my friends shopping. Similar to Dennis Rodman with the watches; with that money, I needed to buy people’s love and attention and affection, and that’s what I did with it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:08] We’re talking about how Dennis Rodman stole 50 watches while he was a janitor at the airport, and then just gave them away to his friends. And the idea was, “I want people to like me.”
Darren Prince: [00:17:16] Yep.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:18] You’re weirdly like, sneaking money away from your dad so he doesn’t do anything responsible.
Darren Prince: [00:17:25] Exactly!
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:26] And then turning around and like —
Darren Prince: [00:17:27] Doing something completely irresponsible just to buy fake friends.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:31] Like not horrible, well, the drug thing is not so good, but you weren’t going to the strip club or buying hookers, whatever. You’re like, “Let’s all go to McDonald’s!”
Darren Prince: [00:17:40] I’ll take everyone to the mall and go for a nice Italian restaurant, and I got the taxis taken care of because you weren’t driving at 16.. I would just get 10, 12 of my boys and we’d all go to the batting cages for the day and play mini-golf and it was always on Prince. Everybody knew that Prince was covering them.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:54] That’s like the weirdest sort of like, drug dealer bling ever, though, right? Like baseball cards, batting cages, arcade, and I don’t know, like Macaroni Grill, whatever you have? Bowling? Balling out of control on Prince. Are you like high during this time, or you just spending money?
Darren Prince: [00:18:13] Sporadically. Not as much, It didn’t really start until my senior year in college with getting high, but you know, I’d party occasionally on the weekends. I wasn’t the biggest party animal. I’d have a lot of my guy and girlfriends call me to come out. Some of these girls I remember, I wrote about in the book, I’d get this message, “Stop playing with your stupid baseball cards and come to this party!” And nothing got in the way of my baseball cards. I didn’t care. I was on a mission. I was just so focused that I was a late bloomer with dating. It didn’t matter. I wasn’t bothered by it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:39] Plus when you’re an entrepreneur, you’re like, are you still kind of a workaholic? I am.
Darren Prince: [00:18:43] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:44] It’s the thing I like doing the most.
Darren Prince: [00:18:45] I love it, man.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:46] I’m married and I have a kid, and my wife like, she gets it. She’s like, “Just be there for your kid enough, be there for me enough, but I get it if you like don’t want to watch Netflix, but you want to go over your show notes five more times.”
Darren Prince: [00:18:58] And in my business too, as an agent, I truly have this mindset that I’m only as good as my last deal. So no matter how close I am with Hulk or Magic or Dennis or Ric Flair, so many on any given day, I’ve got to bring the heat again. I tell my office, “You celebrate that deal today, you get up tomorrow morning, and let’s go out and find another one.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:19:14] It’s a never-ending hustle, but that requires never-ending energy. You can’t rest on your laurels. Not everyone can handle that.
Darren Prince: [00:19:22] It’s like drinking water to me at this point. It’s so easy, you know. You’ve been doing it so long. So many people in my life don’t understand how I’m able to function and it’s super easy. A lot of it is the balance to my 12-step program. I know how to take time to myself when I need it and check out.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:19:40] You’re listening to the Jordan Harbinger show with our guest Darren Prince. We’ll be right back.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:19:44] This episode is sponsored in part by HostGator.
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Jordan Harbinger: [00:20:57] This episode is also sponsored by NetSuite. If you don’t know your numbers, you don’t know your business. But the problem growing businesses have that keeps them from knowing their numbers is the hodgepodge of business system. So, you got one system for accounting, you have one for sales, you have another for inventory. There’s a big inefficient mess. You have 17 freaking tabs open then one time out. You’ve got to put it all in a spreadsheet. You have someone you hire just to reconcile this. No, thanks too much time too many resources. That hurts the bottom line and you can’t get it in real-time. You get to freaking ask for it. NetSuite by Oracle handles every aspect of your business in this cloud platform. So, you get visibility, you get control, and that’s what you need to grow with NetSuite you save time you save money you save unneeded headaches because you can have sales, finance, accounting, orders, and HR, all instantly right from the desktop or even your phone and so NetSuite has been killing it for years. We had it for a while especially at the old companies and some of the startups that I’m advising, they use it because you just need this stuff. In one place, you can put it up on a screen in the office. If you want to help improve morale for your group or whatever. It’s really, really, really helpful. There’s just nothing quite like it and it’s extremely powerful stuff as well. There’s a guide there giving you seven strategies to grow your profits. Jason, tell them where they can get that.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:22:14] They can get that at netsuite.com/jordan. Yes, that free guide Seven Key Strategies to grow your profits at netsuite.com/jordan. It’s free. You can get it today, netsuite.com/jordan Seven Key Strategies to grow your profits.[00:22:29] Thanks for listening and supporting the show and to learn more and get links to all the great discounts you just heard from our amazing sponsors, visit jordanharbinger.com/deals. And don’t forget we have a worksheet for today’s episode, so you can make sure you solidify your understanding of the key takeaways from Darren Prince. That link is in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com/podcast. If you’d like some tips on how to subscribe to the show, just go to jordanharbinger.com/subscribe. Subscribing to the show is absolutely free. It just means that you get all of the latest episodes downloaded automatically to your podcast player, so you don’t miss a single thing. And now back to our show with Darren Prince.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:08] How long have you been sober?
Darren Prince: [00:23:09] 11 and a half years.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:10] That’s a long time. Congratulations.
Darren Prince: [00:23:11] Thank you.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:11] That’s a long time. I met you today. We talked before, but we have mutual friends. You know, you’re a warm guy, or at least you’re really good at faking it so far, but everybody —
Darren Prince: [00:23:21] Are we talking about Jennifer Cohen?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:22] Yeah, I’m talking about Jennifer Cohen. I think what she saw in common was that vibe of like going out, getting it, doing it right, hustling your ass off, and also being a competitive son of a bitch a little bit.
Darren Prince: [00:23:33] And like my dad’s saying, his favorite expression, “It’s not what you say, it’s what you do.” So if I’m going to tell Jordan I’m going to do something and give you a contact or hook you up with something, you’d better believe Darren Prince is going to do it. I think that’s the way we are from the East Coast to be honest with you, because she always tells me, “I cannot believe when you said that you’re going to do this.” It’s just in me.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:51] That was what she said we had in common. I always do what I say I’m going to do. That in L.A., it’s like you’re an alien. You’re an alien man, out here! California? Southern California? “So I said I was going to do this thing and I did it.” “Yeah, but I thought you forgot. I didn’t think you were going to show up!” I mean, you don’t have to call and confirm 14 times. I said I will be there on Tuesday. I’m still coming on Tuesday. So, you’re 16 years old, making what, like 200 grand?
Darren Prince: [00:24:16] A couple of hundred grand a year at that point.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:24:17] And what year was this?
Darren Prince: [00:24:18] 1986.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:24:19] Okay. So inflation calculator, that’s like $300,000 or something.
Darren Prince: [00:24:23] Probably at least, I would imagine.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:24:24] If not more, 30 plus years ago, 35 years ago, almost. So suddenly you became a cool kid. You went from special ed kid to like, this is the kid who makes more money than both of my parents, all of our parents put together.
Darren Prince: [00:24:37] Written up in the Daily News, USA TODAY, all these things started happening.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:24:41] How did you learn to conduct business? Some of it’s instinctual, but what’s the rest of it?
Darren Prince: [00:24:45] Again, I always go back to my dad. You know, I miss him so much and he just taught me. You know, it’s not what you say, it’s what you do. Your reputation is the hardest thing to uphold, the easiest thing to lose. You only get one chance at it. The idea is one percent carrying it through the other 99 percent, and I always took these three things with me. And he was so big on personal relationships. Not just when I became an agent, but baseball cards, sports memorabilia — get to know them; find out what their special interests are; when their birthdays are; find about their family, brother, sisters, their friends; know what their passions are, and I did that. I studied that in almost everybody because when it came to that, it was exciting. It wasn’t like reading US history or Spanish and I gravitated to it and you know, I kind of stored so I knew when I could see somebody, “Hey man, how’s the dog doing?” And when someone was sick, they were so taken back, and that I was so attentive to those details that it just continuously cultivated a relationship.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:25:35] Do you keep the notes in your head? Back then, you didn’t keep them in your phone.
Darren Prince: [00:25:39] But back then I didn’t keep in a phone. Now, I truly believe I was a statistical genius when it came to math. I would study the back of baseball cards is a teenager and I can tell you what Darryl Strawberry hit in 1983 playing in the minor leagues, how many home runs, how many RBIs, and that was one thing that gave me a sense of self and some self-confidence because when my boys would be arguing about sports or like, how many singles the guy got like three nights ago, they would say, “Ask Prince. Ask Prince. He would know.” It actually made me feel good about myself and I think it’s like gravitating more to studying statistics of basketball players, baseball players, because I was the go-to guy.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:26:12] You could have been an actuary! That would have been exciting. Sorry, actuaries. We do have some that listen to the show.
Darren Prince: [00:26:18] Sorry.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:26:19] Yeah. Sorry guys. We’re laughing with you. How did you find mentors? You mentioned mentors in the book and I was wondering if maybe because you had a great dad, you had a good radar for other good people.
Darren Prince: [00:26:30] Yep. People just popped into my life, too. God’s plan, whatever it might have been, in any sector of the business or whatever business it was at the time, I always had great people. Like baseball cards, Barry Halper lived 10 minutes for my family’s house who passed away, who was the legendary card collector memorabilia collector. He had the Holy Grail of all collections of all time. And then when I got into sports memorabilia, I had my friend Jeff Hamilton, a renowned leather jacket designer, who introduced me to Harlan Werner, who was Muhammad Ali’s agent for close to 30 years, and he bought me into the Ali family, and then it obviously evolved into the agency and Magic Johnson, to this day I owe him my life. I mean, the guy took a chance on me and gave me the opportunity to bring him opportunities and I thank him every day that I’m with them.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:27:13] Yeah, the story with Magic is interesting because, what, you were setting up signings of memorabilia?
Darren Prince: [00:27:18] I was doing autograph signings through his agent at the time, Lon Rosen, who’s also a dear friend. Lon was his player rep for many years. They didn’t allow many people into that shell. I mean it was a very tight circle, but you know, Lon liked my hustle. He knew I did things right. I was honest. I worked my butt off, and Magic liked the organization; when he would show up at certain appearances with my crew, I would always pay extra people to be there because I’m like, “This is about building a relationship. I don’t want to be understaffed” And to this day, I still deal with his private jet information with his assistant Natalie Wilson, who I love. His car services. I don’t let anybody in my office see me go near that. Those little things. Because if there’s a screw up, it’s on Darren Prince. I’m like that with most of my guys.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:27:58] Wow, you’re really hands-on with your clients, even to this day.
Darren Prince: [00:28:02] I’ll double-check their hotel confirmations. I’ll double-check with security at airports for Hulk Hogan with my boy Chris Volo, who always makes sure — it’s hard for Hulk to walk through an airport — for Hulk Hogan. We’ll make sure the golf cart’s in a certain area. Ric Flair and his wife Wendy, they know the way I am. I’m very OCD with them. They’re family. I want to make sure when they get somewhere it’s as easy as an experience as possible. I don’t want them getting bombarded by 300 fans. I want them getting in, getting out, getting to the hotel, getting rested. If there’s a certain food they like or a certain drink, I make sure it’s there.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:32] Jeez, man. It’s hard to even buy that kind of care.
Darren Prince: [00:28:35] And then the most important thing when they hurt and when life happens to them, I’m one of the first people there to speak to them.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:42] Dennis Rodman earlier was saying a lot of people are fair weather fans, like they like you when you’re up, but then when you’re low, it’s like they’re laughing at you or they’re just ignoring you.
Darren Prince: [00:28:53] I was there for all the North Korean trips and yeah, there were some ugly times after that third or fourth trip, I think was the fourth trip in January 2014. It got very scary and I wouldn’t turn my back on him. Like I talked him into going to rehab because his drinking was escalating and that’s when you find out the true meaning of friendship. I don’t want to just be there for people when they’re on top. I want to be there when they’re struggling, because I know firsthand living through it that I found my real, true self from the adversity in my life. And if people turned their back on me, I wouldn’t be alive right here just talking to you.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:27] I wonder if there’s a part of you that looks at the opiate problem in a kid who grows up in rural Montana and you go, “Of course it’s hard for you to get sober. I’m an agent with money and resources and access to anyone in the world that I want to fly to and it was hard for me to get sober. Like, what chance does a kid have who works at a gas station?”
Darren Prince: [00:29:48] Same thing exactly. Everybody needs to just accept the fact that there might be a problem, have the courage to speak to somebody about that problem. It doesn’t matter. I say it all the time, whether you’re from Park Avenue or park bench or Yale or jail. Addiction doesn’t discriminate. It all comes down to taking that first step. Taking that action to identify how did it get to this point, or I don’t want it to keep escalating and I want to stop it now, and I can’t do it by myself.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:14] Yeah, how do you do that? I heard you on Dr. Drew, who’s hanging a mutual friend of ours.
Darren Prince: [00:30:17] We had dinner two nights ago with Dennis.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:19] That’s right. He texted me or I texted him right before that. I said, “You know anything about this Suboxone drug,” and he’s like, “Got to go,” and I was like, “Oh, well hit me later.” And then it turned out he was with you guys, looking at brain scans or something.
Darren Prince: [00:30:30] I have a crazy story about Suboxone with Dr. Drew. When Dennis was on Celebrity Rehab in 2005, Dr. Drew called me and I thought I was sober. I truly did. I was on Suboxone for a year and a half at that point.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:43] And this is like a drug that supposed to be —
Darren Prince: [00:30:46] It’s an opiate blocker. It basically takes away the cravings. If you do happen to take an opiate, it blocks it. There’s no psychological euphoria effect from it. I thought I was living my best life and he called me outright on the phone goes, “Darren, I don’t really know you, but I’m going to tell you that it’s highly dangerous. And the Suboxone after a year and a half is even more addictive now to your system than real opiates were.” And damn, he was right. I mean, that was a nightmare getting off that stuff. So we knew each other. He’s done some press with my book. He attended a big event that Jason Binn did in New York with Magic and I and been a big supporter. So we kind of laugh about it, but it was a turning point, because who knows? I might have just stayed on Suboxone the rest of my life thinking I found the cure.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:25] Jeez. I didn’t realize that it’s kind of like methadone, right?
Darren Prince: [00:31:28] It is exactly like methadone.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:29] They come out with this and then it turns out it’s just as bad or worse and harder to get and more expensive.
Darren Prince: [00:31:34] Exactly.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:35] So all right, we can sort of come back to that in a second because there was a little bit of a downfall at that point that leads to all this. But you’re a big dog at the card conventions and I love this quote, “Money and power don’t mean anything if you yourself don’t mean something.” How do you come to that realization at age 16 when you’re balling out of control and all your friends love you?
Darren Prince: [00:31:54] I don’t think I did. I think I realized it when I was sober, when me and Kristen were writing the book. You’re right, because back then it was about the jewelry and the diamonds and I would have three or four beautiful models coming to these shows with me and everybody wearing Prince of Cards jackets and I wasn’t Darren Prince anymore. I had an alter ego, which was Prince of Cards. And this is the coolest thing in the world, whatever 16, 17, 18 walking in —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:16] Satin jackets?
Darren Prince: [00:32:17] Yes.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:18] White satin, I’m envisioning?
Darren Prince: [00:32:19] I don’t know! I think it was navy with gold. The flashier the better. That’s what it was back then.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:032:25] And you’re this Jewish kid, who I assume had a bunch of really gaudy ass jewelry on.
Darren Prince: [00:32:33] Exactly. I had a diamond dollar sign ring. If that was the last piece of jewelry in the world, I wouldn’t be wearing it to this day, but it was horrendous looking. I lived in that thing. I slept in it. I bought it at like a flea market vendor for like five grand one day and it was like everything to me. People would stop me. I guess back then in ’86, ’87, it might have been considered cool. But when I look back to see how deeply insecure and hurt that Darren Prince was to have to wear a dollar sign diamond ring. Look at me now.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:00] Yeah, no rings.
Darren Prince: [00:33:03] This is a recovery bracelet. And this is the same thing about spiritual energy and good vibes.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:12] I’m trying to even think who had a dollar sign diamond ring made?
Darren Prince: [00:33:16] Not cubic zirconia! It was real diamond.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:17] Right! Real diamonds. So this is like some stuff that got pawned when a drug dealer got arrested, it was in his drawer, something like Iceberg Slim lost it at a bar. Oh, my God. But you’re still in the high life. Like you’re going on Arsenio Hall, Successful Teenagers.
Darren Prince: [00:33:32] No, that one never happened.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:33] That never happened?
Darren Prince: [00:33:34] That never happened. I’ll never forget the call. This was another lesson from my dad. Danny Zuker, who’s a very big time in the industry still, he calls me up. I was at Bridgeport. I was there, freshman in college. He said, “We read about you in USA Today and Arsenio Hall’s doing an amazing segment on successful teenagers, and he’s got you, I think the girl was from Soho Soda out of Long Island, and one other person. We’re going to fly you out in two weeks. We’ll have our office call you.” So, of course, as an insecure, cocky, arrogant Jewish kid, I started calling up my friends. Everybody, the dorm room’s going nuts, we’re all going out that night, getting wasted to celebrate. I call my dad the next morning. He goes, “You didn’t tell anybody yet, did you?” I was like, “I told a couple of people.” He goes, “Darren, learn one thing: until you’re on that set of that studio — not on the plane — until you walk in and they mic you up, you have nothing.” And about four days later, he called me to break my heart and say that they’re moving away from the segment. But I did get USA Today. I think there was like Sally Jessy Raphael, New York Post, Wall Street Journal, but Arsenio would have been it. I could have had a Jeff Hamilton jacket on with the diamonds. I mean, what an entrance!
Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:41] Would have shown up with the ring and the jacket?
Darren Prince: [00:34:43] Forget about it! It would have been unbelievable with the Versace glasses with the gold on the side.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:48] Yeah. You’d look like Jewish TI! A Jewish Flavor Flav. Your dad did have some good advice, though. He said your reputation is the hardest thing to build and the easiest thing to lose. It’s a very dad quote.
Darren Prince: [00:35:00] Exactly.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:35:01] Your whole scene is based on reputation. But man, there’s a lot of people that are around Dennis Rodman, around Hulk Hogan, all your clients, you yourself, that are out to get you, to get something from you all the time. How do you know who to trust? How do you know who’s going to have your reputation in mind?
Darren Prince: [00:35:17] I mean, at this stage, I don’t think we bring many new people into the personal circle. It’s more corporate, any type of business partnerships. Most of my guys are so smart. They know. You know, Hulk’s got his tight circle, Ric Flair does, Charlie Sheen does. Everybody’s got — obviously, Magic is, you know, it’s like Fort Knox to get in there. And I think they know at their age, at this point, who the real people and who are the ones that you have to kind of keep away and out of that little tight-knit spot, because everybody wants something out of them. And that’s the other reason I tell my guys in my office, I think we’re so successful with them, not just professionally but personally, I’m not that guy that asks for anything. I’ve never been. I did it one time in my life and it’s in the book on the back cover right there. And it’s the fact that Magic Johnson —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:35:59] The blurb.
Darren Prince: [00:36:00] — that wrote the Magic Johnson with the foreword. They know me, I don’t do that. I don’t want to be that guy. I want to be the guy that’s calling them because I have an opportunity for them, not to take something from them.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:36:09] I have trouble with that, too. It took me years to even ask for help with things that people wanted to give me. It took me a long time to even go, “Well, I really need this thing. And I know that this person can do it.” Why do you think that is? It goes to the unworthiness, right?
Darren Prince: [00:36:25] I think there’s a little bit of unworthiness, a little bit. I think that still obviously always stays inside to us to a certain degree. But with this one, I went all for it. I mean when I emailed Mark Cuban, Jeanie Buss, all my people they all got right back. Social media, I have Patrick Ganino. He’s here and we were talking about it two nights ago. The amount of social media support we got when Aiming High came out was just unbelievable, but that was because I knew it was helping so many people. I felt so secure with asking because I knew that so many were affected by this and there’s not a person in this hotel today or in the city of Los Angeles that doesn’t have somebody affected by the opioid epidemic or alcoholism. And you know, that was one time in my life, I truly felt like I deserved this. God’s given me this platform, and I’m going to ask them to help me excel it to a whole other level to help save lives.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:10] Of course. Yeah, like if this book was just about you and is a bunch of selfies with you and famous people, it would have been harder for you to ask for that for sure. Going back to our wild, insecure teenagers, you started lifting weights and doing steroids and stuff like that. You know that, obviously, is the same pathology coming into play. That caused all kinds of health problems. I mean at this point, give us a picture of what you’re doing on a day-to-day basis. You’re drinking, popping pills.
Darren Prince: [00:37:35] I’m drinking, I’m popping pills, making tens of thousands of dollars a week, flipping and buying and selling vintage baseball cards, and finally got beautiful women in my life, the pick of whatever I wanted, which again was something new that I wasn’t used to. I’d go to the gym six days a week, injecting steroids, taking pills of steroids. I thought life was great, that this was it. I mean everybody wanted to hang out with me. Everyone wanted to be in my inner circle, and I wanted everybody to be in my inner circle because I needed it. I loved it. I loved the attention. I love the fact that I finally felt like something in my life.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:08] Yeah, I could totally identify with all this. I think that’s why I like the book, because I was just like, “Oh, my God, I tick a lot of these boxes.” That’s why I’m careful.
Darren Prince: [00:38:15] I got to laugh, because we made it through, man.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:18] Well, yeah. When I look at addictive behavior and things like that I go, “Well, I don’t really have that,” but it’s so not true. I definitely have that. I just don’t have it with substances, and that’s probably…yet. Like I’m always wary of that now. Looking in L.A., some of my friends that were like the fitness trainer guys, they’re freaking snorting heroin now. I’m like, “What happened to you?” And it’s not just Hollywood.
Darren Prince: [00:38:41] It’s everywhere.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:42] It’s everywhere. Man, it’s terrifying. You must have been having a great time. But at some point it hits the fan, you hit the wall.
Darren Prince: [00:38:50] 21 years old.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:51] What happened?
Darren Prince: [00:38:52] I was arrested four times in six months.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:54] But of course, all that was a coincidence, right?
Darren Prince: [00:38:56] Every time. The cops never should have been there. It’s bad timing. And I was put into a program called The Alliance by the judge. I lost my license for a year and it was mandatory that I stayed sober. Otherwise, instead it’s 120 days in jail, so, you know, I got my life in order. And maybe a few days to go in the program and I knew I was graduating, per se, I called my friend Dave up and I said, “Hey man, I got this great idea. Let’s go to New York City and celebrate. Let’s go do some mind eraser shots —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:39:23] What could go wrong?
Darren Prince: [00:39:24] — at Jimmy Cafe.” We were just 21 and we just partied our ass off on the way in. We took a handful of Xanax, which I thought were better than the opiates, because the opiates is what also got me in trouble, and between that in the mind erasers shots, we’re on our way home from New York City and I wake up in the ER with a hundred stitches in my face. He fell asleep behind the wheel. His car went into a ditch. My face went into the windshield, concussion, broken nose, my lip split open. You wouldn’t have recognized me. And the first two people I see are my mom and my dad with tears rolling down their face because they can’t help their baby boy.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:39:57] Did they know?
Darren Prince: [00:39:58] They knew, but a little blinded by the fact, “How can he be this successful?”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:40:03] Yeah, I wondered about that.
Darren Prince: [00:40:05] If there’s really a problem.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:40:07] Like, “No, he’s got a car and a business and his friends and he’s always –”
Darren Prince: [00:40:10] I got my first condo at 21 years old — that’s unheard of at that age, and that’s for $400,000. But I knew there was an issue. I knew something wasn’t right. But I wasn’t ready to give it all up. I wanted to kind of adjust it. I knew that maybe the Xanax with the booze wasn’t right and I couldn’t do coke. I’d be on the ecstasy, doing it to two to three days a week wasn’t good for me. And I eventually wanted to find that balance of what worked where I could still feel the way I wanted to feel, but not go overboard.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:40:41] What’s crazy to me is you’re working with, at this point, athletes.
Darren Prince: [00:40:45] Back then I was doing the signings. I wasn’t in the agent game yet.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:40:48] But even still, you’re working with these world-class athletes and personalities, and I think it was Joe Frazier waking up at 3 a.m., doing five-mile runs with ankle weights. Or was it Muhammad Ali?
Darren Prince: [00:41:00] It was Joe Frazier who would tell me the stories.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:41:02] And you’re working with them and then you’re thinking, “Cool. Well what did I do last night? I did a bunch of pills and then drank a bunch and then hit the gym and injected some steroids.” And I mean, how are you squaring their greatness with like your lifestyle?
Darren Prince: [00:41:16] Well, when I started working with the athletes and I had morality clauses in my agreement, that’s when I got rid of the illegal drugs and I really had sciatica. I mean, I had real hardcore sciatica, probably from the stresses and not knowing how to release them, and a lot of those underlining insecurities that were compressed that I didn’t know how to deal with. When the craziness of the agency game would happen, I just knew to go right to the bottle. I was functioning for a while. Most of my guys will tell you that were around me, they didn’t think there was a problem. They just thought Prince was having a good time and I was up early. I’d make sure they made their flights and make sure everybody got paid. The contracts were done right. I had a great team behind me. But eventually, like I said, it’s a certain point where it turned on me. I cannot tell you to this day when it turned on me, but it turned and it stopped working.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:41:58] You can’t really pinpoint the time?
Darren Prince: [00:42:0] No. There was a time maybe in my early 30s where it just didn’t have the effect that it once had. I remember walking into an event, believe it or not at this hotel — the Mondrian we’re at right now. It might have been maybe in 2001. I was with Smokin’ Joe. It was the ESPY Awards after-party, and I think Tom Brady just won his first Super Bowl. I remember leaving the ESPY Awards and chopped up a couple of Percocets and went in the bathroom to snort them and we came in the limo over here to go to the after-party and I felt nothing. I felt nothing. Nothing. And now here I am walking in with the king of kings and I felt like I lost my mojo. With all these athletes, Samuel Jackson was going to see me, who just hosted the awards. I’m not going to be able to communicate, not able to talk. My hands started getting all sweaty. That’s probably the first time I walked into an event when I felt like I lost my superpowers. And ironically, I saw Kobe Bryant here that night too. I just worked with him, and you just had him on.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:42:54] Yeah.
Darren Prince: [00:42:55] My boy said, with Tim, I wrote about it in the book, he saw me go over to him and he goes, “You had that little flash of greatness that you were able to walk over and say ‘Hey, man, what’s up?’ but then the rest of the night you weren’t yourself.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:43:06] Oh, man, so that must have then spoken to your insecurity as not being worthy of being there in the first place, which is really, really scary to have that come crawling back after you’ve done all this to keep that down, to mute that. You’re like, “How many drugs do I have to do to get rid of that?” and here it is creeping back in. It’s like wherever you go, there you are. Right?
Darren Prince: [00:43:24] Exactly, man.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:43:25] You’re doing so well with your clients at this point because you’re not just a businessman; you’re a fan and the clients can tell.
Darren Prince: [00:43:31] Exactly.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:43:32] And you land Ali, you have Magic Johnson.
Darren Prince: [00:43:34] Evel Knievel, Hulk, Ric Flair, Roy Jones Jr., Rodman. There’s so many. Chevy Chase to this day is a client, and always making sure I got the job done.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:43:44] For addicts, the night before looks different, but the morning after always looks the same, barfing either on skid row or into a golden toilet in Trump Tower. That’s like the great equalizer, but in a very, very unglamorous way. How did you figure that out? How did that become something you felt viscerally and realized?
Darren Prince: [00:44:01] Whenever I would come to, I think, I would look at my surroundings. And although there was a certain woman there, a lady friend, and I just celebrated a certain success, I always knew no matter where the environment is, I always woke up to the same atmosphere. And there’s always something with that energy related to whatever partying I was doing. It didn’t matter if I was in a Holiday Inn or Ritz-Carlton. It was always that same, hung over — even if it’s an opiate over, as I like to call it — from too many nauseous, not feeling right, always came down to that no matter where I was geographically.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:44:35] You’re listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Darren Prince. We’ll be right back after this.
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Jordan Harbinger: [00:49:37] I can barely keep it together after two drinks. Like I wake up the next morning, I’m like, “Oh I’m too old for this shit.” Your liver must have been on seventh gear.
Darren Prince: [00:49:45] My liver enzymes 11 and a half years later are still slightly elevated from all the opiates.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:49:50] Like bilirubin count or something like?
Darren Prince: [00:49:51] There’s a handful of ailments that I have. I lost my hearing completely.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:49:55] That’s from that?
Darren Prince: [00:49:57] About five years old. I firmly believe as do some of the doctors, it’s from excessive opiate use. I think Rush Limbaugh has a hearing problem. He’s a very well-known TV announcer and he was an opiate addict and one of the big side effects of long-term opioid abuse is hearing loss.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:50:12] Huh? I guess I never really thought about that. That’s terrifying. I guess it’s lucky that’s the only thing that you lost. Is it hearing in one ear?
Darren Prince: [00:50:20] Just the left ear.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:50:21] Jeez. The book reads like part music video and then part maybe, like a Crystal Method music video. It’s like music, oh, rap music video, oh, EDM music video. You’re in strip clubs with the celebrities. You’re on jets and things like that, but all of this contributes to your sense of not really belonging. Like the whole impostor syndrome. It makes it all worse, right?
Darren Prince: [00:50:43] Absolutely. Yeah, it made it all worse. In that moment, I don’t recognize it. I don’t realize it. I can’t identify with it. But there was a certain point like that next morning or whatever it might have been where I couldn’t get that feeling back and I was struggling to find it. No matter how many pills I took or however I timed it to not take them on a full stomach and only snort half of them and let the rest go under my tongue and melt. It was absolute insanity. Whatever I had to do was a full-time job to make sure I got that fix that I needed.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:51:11] Jeez, managing your addiction is like this whole routine — manage addiction, sleep, eat.
Darren Prince: [00:51:18] Exactly, the addiction came first.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:51:19] Unbelievable. Doing business at the level where you are and where you were even then, you had to have your reputation intact, you had to have your integrity intact, didn’t you ever think, “Holy shit. What if I get caught doing all these drugs?”
Darren Prince: [00:51:32] No, because they were legal. They were prescribed by a doctor, as we talked about. The doctor wrote them. I’m good.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:51:37] So it’s all good.
Darren Prince: [00:51:38] Yeah, back then all you’d need to do when you travel with Oxycontins or Percocets — I’m sure it’s the same, or Vicodins — just have a prescription bottle with your name on it and that was it. I mean, like I said, I did cut out the illegal drugs. I knew there was no more ecstasy, coke, all that other crap I was done with once I became an agent. So I just shifted into opiates.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:51:58] There was a little scare with the integrity though, with the FBI. Tells us how the FBI and you got involved with one another because that’s what —
Darren Prince: [00:52:05] So that’s when I made my transition into the agency game. I had Prince of Cards, which was my memorabilia company. We were at the height of the business, we were the king of autograph signings. I literally just left Muhammad Ali at the Essex House in New York City. This was in 1996 in the summer. We spent two days with him signing the photos of him lighting the Olympic torch, which he did two weeks prior. I got a voicemail from an FBI agent. I’m writing a column in Tuff Stuff magazine called The Autograph Experience, about all these icons that I’m around and what the experience was like. And I called the officer on a Sunday night. He said, “We’d love to have you come to Chicago. There’s a case we could use your expertise. We’ll fly you and we’ll pay you.” Of course, the ego, the big shot, this is pretty cool.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:46] That’s a brilliant move on that part, though —
Darren Prince: [00:52:47] “Of course they’re calling me, because I’m Darren Prince! I just left Muhammad Ali.” The next morning, I got a call from another FBI agent telling me that, “We may need you to come with an attorney to look at some merchandise that we have.” This is really odd. I called my attorney. He goes, “Don’t call them back. Let me call them.” He’s like, “I think you should bring me. I’ll charge you a couple of grand for the day. Let’s go in and out.” And the night before I left, the provider of this merchandise that I bought a lot of it — from hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of autograph memorabilia — told me that the FBI was trying to get him on tax evasion, and not to give them any information on him. I developed a relationship with the guy, I was like, “Whatever. I’m bulletproof. I did nothing wrong.” I go out there and they sat with me for about two hours. They recorded everything. And the one question they asked that they kept pushing me on was, “Did you ever have any inquiries, Mr. Prince, for a refund from any of your customers?” I go, “No, everybody loved the merchandise. This was authenticated by one of your own, an FBI forensic document expert.” “Okay, no problem.” So we take a break, we come back after lunch. “We’re going to ask you one more time, Mr. Prince. Are you sure and certain that nobody in your office ever had an issue with a refund?” “No, never.” They had a tape recorder. It wasn’t of our conversation. They were tapping my phone lines for six months.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:54:03] Wow.
Darren Prince: [00:54:04] One of my sales reps arguing with an attorney in Hawaii who was trying to return some merchandise, saying he got word that it was fake and it wasn’t really signed by Michael Jordan. They investigated me for about another year and a half. I lost everything. I started sending out refund letters to keep my reputation intact and it was devastating. Probably half of the people took a refund, to be honest with you. Still, many of them loved the merchandise and the autographs looked so legit, some people didn’t want to believe that it was fake, but I lost everything. I went about a million dollars in debt. This is the first time in my life I had financial problems. My friends were giving me 200 to 300 dollars a week just to eat. My condo is almost in foreclosure. My last three grand that I had from writing some of these articles in Tuff Stuff magazine, I decided to take my dad to a fishing trip in Alaska and that’s kind of when everything changed. A week before we left, I got sentenced to three years’ probation. All these icons came through it for me. Magic Johnson and Lon Rosen, his agent at the time, sent letters to the judge — Lonnie, Ali, Muhammad Ali, Harlan Werner, Dwight Manley — Dennis Rodman, Dennis’ long-time player rep — about my credibility. That I made a mistake.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:10] What was your mistake? That’s confusing.
Darren Prince: [00:55:12] Basically, I lied to the FBI. I got charged with making a false statement.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:15] Did you do that deliberately or you weren’t —
Darren Prince: [00:55:17] No! I totally believed we didn’t have any issues with refunds. I never heard about it, because when my rep was talking to the attorney in Hawaii, he didn’t tell me that there was an issue. He’s like, “You bought these items from us eight months ago. How do we know that they’re still ours?” That was what he said. So because they couldn’t get me on mail fraud, because there was no proof that I did anything intentionally, they cut a deal with me and they charged me with making a false statement to the FBI. That’s like three years’ probation, still a felony. I’m a felon, so I can’t do jury duty, thank God. But I’m allowed to vote. I’ve been able to vote.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:50] Wait, so you can — wait a minute.
Darren Prince: [00:55:52] It’s a pretty cool thing in a way.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:53] So, you just don’t ever have to go to jury duty.
Darren Prince: [00:55:55] Jordan, when the jury duty cards come in, I get so excited to go online and fill it in because the minute I checked that box — have I ever been charged with a felony — it exes me right out. Every couple of years it comes in and says, “Sorry, you’re unable to qualify.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:56:07] All I have to do is become a felon. Life hack! Not recommended, you all.
Darren Prince: [00:56:15] Obviously, it took me a lot to come out of it, but I took my dad with my last like three grand to Alaska and he refused. He didn’t want to go with me. He goes, “You can’t be wasting this money,” and I said, “Dad, come on. We need it. Let’s just go.” As I talked about in the book, we were fishing and we talked about it earlier that I said to him, “I need to do something different.” He goes, “What’s your next move?” I said, “You know, Dad, I think I’d make a great agent. I think I’d be really good at it because I’m caring, I’m good with details, these guys trust me, these women that I represent, they all trust me. But I’m not an attorney and at 25, I don’t want to go to law school.” He goes, “Why do you need to be an attorney? Life is about who you know, not what you know. You have so many incredible relationships. You’re able to go to Muhammad Ali’s ranch in Michigan, and go to Magic Johnson’s house, and you can call Dennis Rodman on the cell phone right now, or Joe Frazier. These are relationships that any attorney would give their right arm for in the entertainment industry.” “And so what are you saying? What should I do?” He goes, “Magic stuck by you through all of this. He knows about making mistakes. They all do. I would talk to him next time you see him about being your first client.”[00:57:17] And I remember being in Michigan with him. We were in Detroit about three weeks later, and I remember being a little bit high because it was a really nervous situation for me to walk into his room. He came by himself on this one trip and I got into his room. He sat me down. He is just a special man in the world. He sat me down. “Come on boy, sit down. How did it all work out? You’re okay. You got through it.” He goes, ”How you doing financially.” I’m like, “It’s rough,” and I kind of started crying a little bit. He goes, “Look, man, you’re going to make lemonade out of lemons. I guarantee you’re going to look back at this time in your life and you’re going to say, “That never happened. These other doors and windows wouldn’t have opened because God tests great men and women and he’s testing you right now. Just like he tested me.” And I’m like sitting there like this and I said, “Well, Earvin,” I call him by his real name. I said, “Earvin, I got an idea.” He said, “What is it?” I said, “A business idea.” He goes, “Okay, let me hear it. What’s your next move?” And I said, “I want to be an agent.” “Man, you need some big clients to do that.” He goes, ”You have any idea who you’re looking to have as your first client?” And I still get choked up telling this story because you know hear about these moments in life. I listen to guys like you, Lewis Howes, Jay Shetty, Gary Vee — you have these moments in your life that if you don’t go for it, you can regret it forever. And it came out and I said, “I would love to have you as my first client if that’s possible.” He goes, “Do you have a good entertainment lawyer?” I said, “No, I don’t.” He goes, “Well, you better find one and send the contract to the office next week.” He looks at me, “I’m going to give you two years to represent me, but if you don’t use me to knock down every door to bring in all the biggest celebrities you can, I’m going to fire you because it’s not how successful I become, Darren. I’m going to be successful. It’s how successful I make you and everybody else around me. Because life is about what you can do for other people.” I left the room thinking, “Did he just tell me that I should be exploiting him to build my company, my agency?” And it’s exactly what he did. I mean, within six months, I had Chevy Chase, Pamela Anderson. Dennis Rodman, I met a year later. Smokin’ Joe Frazier was actually the second right after Magic. Couple of years after that, Magic was in Hawaii with Dave Winfield. I got a lead for a slot machine licensing deal for Evel Knievel.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:59:21] You’re the one that makes all the weird slot machines!
Darren Prince: [00:59:25] I got Evel on the phone with Magic and Magic tells him all these great things about me and Evel Knievel is now a client. I didn’t understand back then but now I do because when I look at all these outlets that we have now, we’re so dialed in at such a high level to the ad agencies and the corporations, it all helps everybody. It’s all one big family. So I now look at what Magic said and meant and it’s true. It was spot on.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:59:50] What did you learn from having to call all your celebrity friends and other card dealers, memorabilia dealers, and have to just come clean about this whole FBI thing? Because that could have destroyed you, but it didn’t.
Darren Prince: [01:00:00] Yeah, it killed me but it was also in a way. I’ll tell you. When I was so broke, I remember telling myself that I’m never going to forget this feeling because thank God, I had a perspective enough to look at it differently and say, “I don’t have kids right now. I’m a single guy, I do think I can rebuild. I do believe I’m going to turn this around.” I was on Dave Meltzer’s podcast about this conversation — because he has made and lost it — and I said, “Dave, I just knew, I had this feeling inside of me that my time is going to come again,” and it was a wake-up call to watch my spending, be more careful about just throwing money out there, the way I was throwing it. Little by little, within a couple of years, it started to happen.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:36] Yeah, you really could have turned the corner in a bad way and then like, reputation shot — you’re still using at this point.
Darren Prince: [01:00:43] Of course.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:44] So that could have been you flushing it down the toilet at that point.
Darren Prince: [01:00:46] Yep.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:47] Jeez, man. Even later on, I mean, this imposter syndrome. Do you think you’re over it now, or do you just manage it differently?
Darren Prince: [01:00:53] No, I think I’m over it now. I truly do, I truly do. I don’t know if I could have told you that four, five years into my sobriety. But man, you put me in front of a football field with a hundred thousand people at Wembley right now, I’ll speak to them like I’m speaking to you. I love every minute of it. I’m going to be so comfortable talking about the uncomfortable, knowing that not as much that I needed God, but God needed Darren Prince at a certain point that my journey was all about being a recovery advocate and getting this message out, I don’t care what end of the world you’re from, that you can turn your darkest days into the brightest of the lights, because I’m living proof.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:01:26] I think it is great that you, of course, eventually made it to sober because there’s an anecdote in the book where Dennis Rodman and you are partying for a long, long, long time. I mean months and months or years and years, whatever it is, and then one day he wakes you up and says, “Hey, man, you’re going to miss your flight.” When Dennis Rodman wakes you up because you’re going to miss your flight, did you kind of get on that plane and go, “Hang on a second. If Dennis Rodman is the responsible adult in our relationship, what’s happening?”
Darren Prince: [01:01:53] We did an interview with Fox last week for his ESPN 30 for 30 and I told that story. I was still a little bit, like, buzzed when he woke me up, but the amazing thing was that it was after Celebrity Big Brother in England. He got evicted from the house and we hit a strip club that night. We went to a bar called Pangea. He woke me up. We barely made it on the flight. We’re on the plane, we’re on the right side in business class, and he looked over. He’s like, “Bro, is that Muhammad?” I’m like, “What’s he talking about?” I looked to my left. Muhammad and Lonnie Ali are two rows to the left from us on the same flight. So we got up and said hello to him and gave him a big hug. And I said, “Go figure.” But now I don’t really think it meant that much and I think we were laughing about it because I was still at that point where it was somewhat working. I realized it obviously a few years later that there’s something really wrong with Dennis Rodman waking up his agent so they make the flight.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:02:43] I mean looking back then, were you looking at him and going, “Wow, he’s out of control, but I’m fine.”
Darren Prince: [01:02:47] That’s exactly what it was. I’d be on the plane, I’m like swallowing pills and having a bloody Mary or so, and he’d be drinking. I’m like, “You’ve got to slow down at the freaking drinking, man. You’re out of freaking control!” We’d yell, we fight with each other. “Don’t tell me. You and your freaking pills, Darren.” It was like two brothers.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:03:02] “They’re from a doctor!”
Darren Prince: [01:03:04] Yeah. Exactly. I would hold the bottle. “Doctor so-and-so gave them to me. Don’t start with me. I have sciatica.”
Jordan Harbinger: [01:03:11] Yeah, “How’s your sciatica?” You’ve had 17 Vicodin and it’s 9 a.m. How did you end up sending Dennis and you, by the way, going with him to North Korea? Like, what happens when you get that request and you’re like, “This seems like a good idea.” Take me through this thought process here.
Darren Prince: [01:03:25] So I got a call from Shane Smith and somebody from his office. I forget the guy’s name from Vice Media and they tell us about this idea to bring Dennis with the Harlem Globetrotters. He’d be a producer on the special and on-air talent. Not a lot of money, but something historic for him to be a part of. I was like, “All right. I’ll bring it to him.” It sounded unique. And the trip got canceled three different times. We had contract-signed dates, they started working on flights, and for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why that kept happening. “This is crazy. They gave us the deposit. They booked the flights, and they’re changing it again.”
Jordan Harbinger: [01:03:54] “Get your shit together.”
Darren Prince: [01:03:55] I keep putting them on Dennis’ schedule. Like, “Guys, we’re missing opportunities. Enough is enough.” Finally, it gets done and they call me and tell me that they got the clearance that they needed. All right, I just figured they needed clearance to film. I didn’t know there was other clearance involved. At the time, Psy was the biggest thing in the world to rap.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:04:11] Gangnam Style, right?
Darren Prince: [01:04:13] Yeah, so I go downstairs to Steve Simon, who’s the VP of my agency —
Jordan Harbinger: [01:04:17] Good old buddy.
Darren Prince: [01:04:18] — the baseball card show. Steve is the book smart guy. And I go downstairs with the contract, so excited. “Bro, finally. I got the deal done with Dennis to go to Korea. We’ve got to figure out who Psy’s manager is, so he can see Psy.” He goes, ”Cool, dude. When is he leaving? Let me see the contract.” And I go, “He’s going to North Korea on…” He goes, “You mean South?” I go, “No, North.” He’s like, “Bro, are you an idiot?” He goes, “You can’t send him to North Korea.” And I said, “What are you talking about? This is going to be historic.” He looks at it and starts pulling everything up on North Korea on the Internet and said, “Come here. You moron! Look at this.” He starts showing me all these stories. I said, “Oh, my God, this is crazy.” I’m like, “Let me call Dennis,” and I called him up and to his credit man, he was sitting right here. He’s like, “Dude, I don’t give a damn. Just make sure I’m safe. Because if nobody’s met this leader, this roller, I guarantee I’m going to meet this motherfucker, and I might be able to open up some doors with him and President Obama and create some seriously historical shit.” Exactly what Dennis said to me. And I go, “Man, that’s pretty cool.” And so we sent him and they called me at like 11 o’clock that night when he was already in Beijing. As you know, you have to take that Beijing flight into the airport in Pyongyang and they said, “Get ready for your client’s biggest press hit of his life.” And I go, “Well, guys, it’s not going to be bigger than the wedding dress. I mean, please.” They’re like, “This is going to dwarf the wedding dress.”
Jordan Harbinger: [01:05:34] This is international news.
Darren Prince: [01:05:37] Yeah, it’s international. There’s social media now; there wasn’t social media back then. And I tell you when I woke up at 5:00 in the morning to go to the bathroom, I’ve never seen more text messages, more emails, more media outlets around the world. It was like nothing I’ve ever seen because at that point he already went to the game and he was already at that iconic moment. He was sitting next to Kim Jong-un like this, and it was everywhere. Breaking news, and I couldn’t believe it.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:06:00] I think Vice’s value tripled that for that week at least.
Darren Prince: [01:06:03] We had a wonderful pistachio commercial. Oprah did an interview with him. He was the first basketball player ever over 50 years old — I think athlete, in general — to open Saturday Night Live, with a “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!” He got a FootLocker commercial. And we didn’t do it for that. We didn’t expect any of this.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:06:19] Did you think at any point, “Okay from all I’ve read on Wikipedia, thanks to my buddy, he might never come back from North Korea?”
Darren Prince: [01:06:29] I did for a minute, but when he made it back that first trip, then I kind of felt a lot more comfortable. I figured, “This is pretty cool. Dennis said they want him to come back in a few more months.”
Jordan Harbinger: [01:06:38] “If he wanted to keep him, he would have kept him.”
Darren Prince: [01:06:41] Yes, exactly.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:06:42] Oh man, you’ve lived a hell of a life so far. So what’s next for you?
Darren Prince: [01:06:45] What’s next for me? Man, I mean, I’m just happy. Like we talked about today, but I find my real self, man, and be out there. The business is going to take care of itself. I’m always going to be a hustler. My clients know that about me. But it’s about the recovery. Just getting my message out there around America, around the world, to show kids, adults, whoever it might be that help and recovery exist, and no matter what you’re going through. There’s nothing that makes me happier than getting in front of a live audience and knowing that the lights come on in somebody’s eyes and I find one person in that crowd whose life gets changed. Because I’ve been given a gift. Sobriety and recovery are a gift and I’ve got to work hard at it every single day, going to my meetings and giving back. I had a random message on Instagram this morning at 7 o’clock this morning, a guy in New York. “Hey, man, can you call me? I’m struggling. I’m very inspired by your post.” I dropped everything. I put up a conference call. That’s how I build self-esteem, by doing esteemable acts. That’s how I could tell you that there is no more imposter syndrome, because I know the real Darren Prince. I finally arrived to a spot where most people never get to in their lifetime, and what a feeling it is at 49 years old. When I look at how I was at 29 years old, at 19 years old, you’re never too old to make that change. This is the greatest thing I’ve done for myself in a long span of time. You know that the agent life, man, that’s bullshit. That’s not why I was put on this Earth. This right here — and like I said, everything I do to get this message out there — this is my calling. I found myself.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:08:12] Thank you very much, man.
Darren Prince: [01:08:13] Thanks for having me.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:08:17] Big thank you to Darren Prince. His book is called Aiming High: How a Prominent Sports and Celebrity Agent Hit Bottom. He’s just a cool guy. I like him. We’re friends now. He helped me hook up Dennis Rodman as well, which I really appreciate. I mean, it’s just a good person. I’m so glad to meet good people who are at the top of the industry like this, because it reaffirms all the things that we’re doing here. Because you do see a lot of, I mean you watch the news, sometimes there’s a lot of scumbags at the top; Darren is at the top and he got there because he’s an awesome guy who does what he says he’s going to do, so I really appreciate that about him. Links to his stuff and his book will be in the show notes. There’s a video of this interview on our YouTube channel at jordanharbinger.com/youtube We filmed this at the Mondrian Hotel in Los Angeles. Special thanks to them for hooking up that room. I really appreciate at the Mondrian Hotel there on Sunset Boulevard, right in the heart of it all. There are also worksheets for each episode, so you can review what you’ve learned here from Darren Prince at jordanharbinger.com in the show notes.[01:09:11] And I’m teaching you how to connect with great people and manage relationships using systems and tiny habits, so you can get your own Darren Prince tactics going. That’s our Six-Minute Networking course, which is free over at jordanharbinger.com/course. I know you’ll do it later, right? Yeah, you’ll do it later. No, dig the well before you get thirsty, you got to help people before you ask him for stuff. Once you need relationships. You’re too late don’t procrastinate. That’ll make you stagnate especially when it comes to your personal and business relationships. The drills, they take a few minutes per day. Hence the name Six-Minute Networking. Jeez. I mean, I would have chosen for minute networking, but nobody would believe me. I wish I knew this stuff 20 years ago. It’s not fluff. It’s crucial. Find it all for free jordanharbinger.com/course, and by the way, Most of the guests on the show they subscribe to the course and the newsletter. So, come join us and you’ll be in some smart company speaking of building relationships. You can always reach out and follow us on social or just reach out and talk to us there. I’m at @jordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram. [01:10:10] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. This episode was produced by Jen Harbinger and Jason DeFillippo, edited by Jase Sanderson, show notes and worksheets by Robert Fogarty, music by Evan Viola, and I’m your host Jordan Harbinger. Our advice and opinions and those of our guests are their own and yeah, I’m a lawyer, but I’m not your lawyer, so do your own research before you implement anything you hear on this show and remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for the show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful or interesting which should be in every episode. So, please share the show with those you love and even those you don’t. In the meantime do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we’ll see you next time. [01:10:53] A lot of people ask me which podcasts I listen to. My friend Ben Greenfield, he’s always on the cutting edge of health. He’ll wear like an ice vest to keep his body temperature low. And he was kind of the original, I’m going to run on a treadmill desk or walk on a treadmill desk and he stayed at my house once and we came back, Jen and I, and he was in the living room wearing like some sort of like athlete’s Speedo thing and rolling out his muscles. Then we left and we came back two and a half hours later and he was still doing that, and we’re like, “How long do you exercise?” So, basically, he’s obsessed with fitness. He has had all these crazy fitness names on there. Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, is a fan and guest to the show, and he just really is obsessed with human performance. So, it’s a great podcast for those who want to optimize their body, mind, spirit and wanted to defy aging, live that sort of limitless lifestyle. You can find the Ben Greenfield Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify Stitcher, or go to bengreenfieldfitness.com.