By Jeffrey S. Kravitz, Esq.

Johnny Manziel is putting up numbers for Texas A&M that make him, if not the odds on favorite for the Heisman, at least a face that we will see at the New York Athletic Club when the award is given. And why not? Does anyone doubt that Kareem Abdul Jabbar was the best collegian in the land as a freshman or Bill Walton?


In those days, freshman were not even eligible to play varsity ball, but Johnny Football sure looks good for a kid you never heard of coming into this season. As the sentiment in the Dallas Morning News Blog has it, why not? In private law firms, freshman are most often relegated to the back room (my firm excepted) but in public employment, they often hand you a file and say "try this case."  As a young pup, I faced a veteran trial lawyer on a civil rights case who had a big reputation. I was too green to know who he was and my bosses let me run with it. Beat him to everyone’s surprise, I had a senior lawyer who did not want to try cases any more hand me a file, only to have me find out that I was facing the man known as the Desert Fox. Always loved the quote from Hall of Fame baseballer Dizzy Dean  "It ain’t braggin’ if you can do it."

As featured in Rick Reilly’s column on, how could everybody have missed Jeremy Lin? Stanford, Cal? The Golden State Warriors? Houston?  Heck, his high school team was in Palo Alto and won the state championship.

Might I suggest modesty. Don King, notorious boxing celebrity and promoter once opined: “I am the best promoter in the world, and I say that humbly.”  Dizzy Dean, once said, “It ain’t braggin’ if you can do it.” Heck, I went to a high school game where James Harden’s mom wore a jacket proclaiming, “James Harden’s mom.”

Likewise, go to the Yellow Pages and see how many lawyers advertise their greatness. And then there are the ones who emerge over time.

I once had a case against a Palm Springs lawyer known by professionals as the “Desert Fox.”  He was over 40 before he tried his first case, and he tried that one because no one else would try it for him. Seven figures later….. Sometimes it just takes awhile for greatness to emerge.