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PQQLK9
02-11-2005, 08:32 AM
Aura of the 'Black Widow' means big bucks for Lee

By Travis Sawchik, Rocky Mount Telegram

Friday, February 11, 2005

After Allison Fisher and Karen Corr finished dominating their first-round matches in the Carolina Women's Billiard Classic Thursday, they were met by a sparse number of Star Trek-like cult followers armed with Sharpie makers.

The respective No. 1 and No. 2 female billiards players in the world quickly signed the gleaming billiard balls and cue sticks and vanished through the players' exit at Nash Community College's makeshift billiards arena.

A quiet experience filled with humility; hardly a Jeanette Lee moment.

When Lee finalized her opponents' first-round drubbing, the tall, attractive Asian descendent first met with her agent, signed a document and advanced to a simple table adorned with T-shirts and Lee "Black Widow” posters featuring her dark, razor-sharp eyes and glossy black hair.

Wrapped in her familiar tight-fitting black clothing, she took up post in a prearranged autograph booth, while the public address announcer notified fans that Lee's autograph was now for sale.

The catch was those waiting in line — holding out money and eyeing the Lee pinball game in the lobby — were waiting on the world's third-ranked player.

But her looks, personality, presence and talent are ubiquitous assets, transcending her sport, her ranking and reaching into Nash County.

"There are certain personalities that have a spotlight that follows them around; she's one of them,” said Tom George, an Octagon senior marketing officer and quasi-agent to Lee. "I was down in Charlotte at the Wachovia championship ... I walk in the players' lounge and Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk, Vijay Singh (and) Davis Love are all crowded around the television watching her É and they are going to be playing that day.”

She has endorsed whiskey, Gatorade, cue sticks and made a television appearance on HBO's Arliss. This March, Bravo will air a celebrity billiards show that features Lee as its host.

If an American knows of only one billiards player, chances are its Lee.

"I don't think you can create that,” Lee, a Brooklyn native, said of her aura. "You can try all you want, it's just something I've heard people say about me.

"I always want to go out there look my best, feel my best and act my best, but what it ends up being is what it is.”

What it is, according to her agent, is her role as the Anna Kournikova of billiards.

George says her ability to draw the spotlight has earned her a "healthy living.” And she is not the only Octagon client holding the sex-symbol card. Soccer's Mia Hamm and softball's Jennie Finch also employ the company to represent them.

"Jeanette's third in the world; do you think anyone cares?” said George of her slight fall from the top. "She does É but she's been in the public eye so long it would probably take the public five years to know she wasn't.”

But the endorsements — due to looks, personality or both — come to Lee as she uses billiards as a springboard to becoming a mainstream marketers' tool. All the while, other talented members of the WPBA simply cannot make a living by playing alone.

So does it bother Corr that even though she is ranked higher than Lee she does not reap many economic rewards?

"No, not really,” said the Ireland native. "I'm still new, Jeanette has been playing the game a long time É It doesn't bother me.”

Lee, in her early 30s, began playing billiards when she was 18 while bartending in New York City. She has put too much of her energy into fighting for her financial success to worry about eating cake while others scavenge for bread.

"In their world, where they live, people know them,” Lee said of her peers. "But how much work do they do outside their world?

"At the beginning there was resentment, but at this point they know how hard I work and what I've built, and what I need to do.”

She has worked hard. Becoming the world's top ranked player in 1994 despite a childhood condition of scoliosis.

She also battled Octagon, which had denied her a total of nine times before she flew to its Washington D.C. headquarters and blew them away with her stage presence like she has done on ESPN, in pool halls and again Thursday at Nash Community College.

And as her star is burgeoning it might even help the popularity of billiards, though George says that's not his job.

"Rising tides lift all boats,” George says.

And there was little confusion in Nash County Thursday as to who controlled the waters.

Travis Sawchik can be reached at 407-9950 or tsawchik@coxnews.com

1Time
02-12-2005, 10:32 AM
A nice read. I'm not much for all the "Black Widow" hype and marketing. I just like seeing Jeanette, Allison, and Karen go at it on the table. However, I wouldn't be surprised if Jeanette takes the number 1 ranking within the next few years.

landshark77
02-12-2005, 12:50 PM
I'm not buying ANYONE'S autograph. /ccboard/images/graemlins/frown.gif

Harold Acosta
02-12-2005, 02:37 PM
Don't have anything against Jeanette Lee but she won't gain back the number 1 ranking while Karen and Fisher are around.

There are also too many upcoming women players that will prevent Lee from the number 1 spot.

buddha162
02-13-2005, 05:22 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote 1Time:</font><hr>However, I wouldn't be surprised if Jeanette takes the number 1 ranking within the next few years. <hr /></blockquote>

I would be. Unless you're talking after Fisher/Corr retires, and even then I would put my money on Kim Ga Young over Lee.

Of course, Jeanette's ego needs further stoking, so I'm rooting for her to get back on top...

(not!)

-Roger

jjinfla
02-14-2005, 06:18 AM
Quote Landshark 77 :I'm not buying ANYONE'S autograph.

So I have to ask why not? Is it beneath you? Do you feel you are lowering yorself when you do? Are you admitting that someone is better than you?

Anyway when I pay for an autograph, which is rare because most of the pros do not have the business sense to promote themselves and give it away for free (someting even prostitutes won't do) I feel that I am contributing, in a small way, to the success of professional pool.

Pelingas was here at a local bar where he performed for about 50-60 people. At the end he sold signed posters for $10, signed cueballs for $10 and small signed pictures for $5. In about 15 minutes he took in over $250. Maybe not much in some peoples eyes but you have to remember this is a low level blue collar bar where the workers earn probably less than $10 per hour and they were willing to put out the money. And happy to do so.

It just amazes me that the pros will not promote themselves. They have a product to sell, themselves, and they are too dumb to realize it.

Glad to see Lee realizes that she is worth it. I imagine it won't be long before whe will be selling signed spiders like she used in her trick shot routine. In fact, I wouldn't mind buying one myself.

Jake

eg8r
02-14-2005, 06:31 AM
[ QUOTE ]
...Is it beneath you? Do you feel you are lowering yorself when you do? Are you admitting that someone is better than you?
<hr /></blockquote> What ridiculous questions.

eg8r

Stretch
02-14-2005, 08:21 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote buddha162:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote 1Time:</font><hr>However, I wouldn't be surprised if Jeanette takes the number 1 ranking within the next few years. <hr /></blockquote>

I would be. Unless you're talking after Fisher/Corr retires, and even then I would put my money on Kim Ga Young over Lee.

Of course, Jeanette's ego needs further stoking, so I'm rooting for her to get back on top...

(not!)

-Roger <hr /></blockquote>

Her dress and demeanor scream "look at me!, look at me!". It gets more like a plea with age and deminishing talent. Ya she's good and she knows it, but i'll line up for an autograph for "substance" before style every time. Modesty and graciosness while possesing unnatural talent is the sexiest thing there is. St.

landshark77
02-14-2005, 08:22 AM
LMFAO Jake....WTF is an autograph??? Why do I want some strange person's signature in my possession? I like entertainment. I like talking to those folks that entertain me. Hell, I'll even go all out and say that, depending on the person, I would like to have my pic taken with them. Maybe, just maybe, I would like that autographed to make the picture complete. An autograph on a napkin or what ever means nothing to me as does an autograph on a pic that I didn't take or that I am not in...IMO it is senseless. If I have to pay to get in a pic with ANYONE, then I say forget it. I pay to be entertained...not to worship some person society decides is more valuable than any other person, because they are not.

jjinfla
02-14-2005, 02:59 PM
I like your signature Landshark.

It pretty much explains everything.

Jake

jjinfla
02-14-2005, 03:06 PM
<hr /></blockquote> What ridiculous questions. eg8r <hr /></blockquote>

So ridiculous that you waste time responding to them. Now, that is ridiculous.

The bank sells pictures of Presidents and I am sure you all don't mind paying for those.

Jake

Rich R.
02-15-2005, 07:23 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote jjinfla:</font><hr> The bank sells pictures of Presidents and I am sure you all don't mind paying for those. <hr /></blockquote>
At the bank, I don't use a Lincoln to get a Washington. /ccboard/images/graemlins/blush.gif

landshark77
02-15-2005, 07:59 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote jjinfla:</font><hr> I like your signature Landshark.

It pretty much explains everything.

Jake <hr /></blockquote>

Thanx Jake, glad to see you're the same 'ol jack ass! /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

Jerry_GIP
02-18-2005, 01:27 PM
I've never seen any WPBA players charge for their autograph or to have their picture taken. I have seen Jeanette and a few others sell merchandise (books, photos, etc.), but it surprises me she would charge for a fan autograph.

On the other hand, I see people on Ebay who get her to sign a box of billiard balls and then try to re-sell them at $30 bucks a pop! I can understand if she wants a cut.

Maybe the reporter got it wrong. After all, he suggested Allison and Karen generated relatively little fan interest, which is not what I've seen at 15 tournaments.

Barbara
02-18-2005, 01:39 PM
I have seen Jeanette charge for the material on which she is putting her autograph on - like the special balls she had made up with one of her sponsor's logo whom I can't rememeber at this time.

I have one at home. It cost $10 and I thought it was worth it.

Barbara

Deeman2
02-18-2005, 01:48 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Jerry_GIP:</font><hr> I've never seen any WPBA players charge for their autograph or to have their picture taken. I have seen Jeanette and a few others sell merchandise (books, photos, etc.), but it surprises me she would charge for a fan autograph. <font color="blue"> Wasn't Dawn Hopkins charging for a photo with folks at the Valley Forge Expo? If I remember, she was demonstrating/selling jump cues, maybe called a Frog and I seem to remember them doing the picture thing. Pardon me if I am wrong and, of course, she may not be a WPA Player member anymore. Nothing wrong with this, IMO, but I think I'm right.</font color>

On the other hand, I see people on Ebay who get her to sign a box of billiard balls and then try to re-sell them at $30 bucks a pop! I can understand if she wants a cut. <font color="blue"> Yep, this happens and probably makes the player feel like a chump. Maybe the players should limit ball signing to one per person unless they get a fee. That would help run off the freeloaders.</font color>

Maybe the reporter got it wrong. After all, he suggested Allison and Karen generated relatively little fan interest, which is not what I've seen at 15 tournaments.

<font color="blue"> I think all the women players are so approachable many take it for granted and fans don't "seem" as interested to a reporter, at least. </font color>

Deeman

<hr /></blockquote>

MrLucky
02-18-2005, 01:53 PM
The three of them have played at my spot Mr Cues 2 in Atlanta more than a few times and I have gotten several things from programs to cue case signed with not a penny passing hands! /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif

jjinfla
02-18-2005, 03:07 PM
Anybody ever go to a book signing? Usually at a bookstore where you can buy the book, meet the author, and the author signs the book? The author is not really charging for the autograph - but you do have to buy the book. And the price is usually full retail.

Anybody who buys a signed anything on Ebay is a fool. There is no guarantee as to who signed the object.

There really is no secondary market for autographed objects. They are only of value to the person who first received them. In fact, autographed baseball cards drop drastically in value from the unsigned cards.

Without really trying I have 31 signed cueballs. And I only paid one person Ray Martin. But then Ray is a nice guy and he signed my 99 critical shots for free. I didn't get Mike Sigel's because he wanted more than I was willing to play. But he did sign a program for free.

I just think that the pros are missing out by not providing things like pictures and cueballs for sale to the fans and then signing them after the person buys them.

And Mr. Lucky if you sold cueballs for $10 and then the pros signed them you and the pro could split the profit. Seems like easy money to me. That's what they did at Capone's. Ran out of cueballs real fast.

Jake

landshark77
02-18-2005, 03:46 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote jjinfla:</font><hr>
I just think that the pros are missing out by not providing things like pictures and cueballs for sale to the fans and then signing them after the person buys them.
<hr /></blockquote>

Jake,

I can agree with you on this. Sell the goods, not the autograph. There are things I would buy, but if someone is going to deny an autograph to a fan because they did not purchase something, then IMO that is just pompous. Now there are also times when it is not appropriate for a fan to ask for a free autograph...i.e., your example of a book signing.
I for one am not an autograph seeker or a "OMG that person is famous lemme get proof that I know or met them" type person. I could really careless about someone's signature, unless of course it is at the bottom of a check. That is my preference and I should not be attacked for it.

jjinfla
02-18-2005, 06:00 PM
I believe the opposite is true. People who have no need or desire, for autographs or memorabilia, attack or ridicule those who do want it. To me it is just a rememberance of meeting that person. Other than that it has no value. I sure do get more pleasure out of it for less money spent than a couple packs of cigs and a bottle of rot gut. And an awful lot cheaper than those silly Lladros my wife collects.

Jake

MrLucky
02-18-2005, 06:12 PM
Yes /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif <font color="purple">I agree, I have pics of many players I have met along my travels along with patches from my APA leagues etc., in my office as decor ! No one usually gets to view them but me, most of the time ! But they are for me and my enjoyment and my memories and have special meaning for me that really aren't meant for nor would mean much to someone else!

I think I have been very fortunate to have met many great players in a sport that I love and some of those people are no longer with us, but I have a piece of them not only in my heart and mind but to view</font color> /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif

landshark77
02-18-2005, 06:49 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote jjinfla:</font><hr> I believe the opposite is true. People who have no need or desire, for autographs or memorabilia, attack or ridicule those who do want it. <hr /></blockquote>


Let's go back....I made a STATEMENT of my preference in a thread on a message board. YOU in turn, took my preference and attacked/ ridiculed ME wanting to know the following:

[ QUOTE ]

So I have to ask why not? Is it beneath you? Do you feel you are lowering yourself when you do? Are you admitting that someone is better than you?<hr /></blockquote>

Therefore, I answered YOUR questions and told you my THOUGHTS, not attacking a single person...not even YOU! YOU then responded by attempting to make a joke at my signature, which WAS a PERSONAL attack, again. So I returned the favor.

I could care less if someone else likes autographs, I don't think anything negative about them. This thread was about Janette SELLING her autograph, not about if people who collect autographs are silly or not. The point I initially was making is that I will not BUY anyone's autograph. I thought I said it clear the first time, and I'm really not sure what the debate is. /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif