Charles Barkley. Ron Jaworski. Larry Bowa. Bernie Parent. Four of the most recognizable, charismatic, sought-after athletes ever to lace 'em up for this city.
So here's a question, sports fans: Say you wanted one of these Philadelphia icons to make an appearance at a charity event, or be a speaker at a banquet - who could you turn to?
That was the question presented by Mollie Plotkin to Ellen Barkann -- wife of Comcast Sportsnet's Michael Barkann -- a little over two years ago while working together at an annual fundraiser.
And, oddly enough, the answer was "Nobody, really".
That brief, seemingly innocuous conversation spurred what is today known as Philadelphia Sports Group LLC, a celebrity marketing agency in the Philadelphia area specializing in the business of sports.
Within just days, Plotkin and Barkann went from strangers to business partners, spending nearly every day together to try and establish themselves in a fraternal, male-dominated industry.
Philadelphia Sports Group did not start off in spectacular fashion, as the first star athlete they signed -- Ike Reese -- promptly shipped off to Atlanta four days later, but their fortune soon changed. As one successful event and one big name followed another, the business began to flourish. Now approaching their second anniversary, Barkann and Plotkin have watched their success rate multiply five-fold in each of their first two years.
"It's been like a whirlwind," Plotkin said.
Once the dust settled, Philadelphia Sports Group was left with an an impressive client list that includes the following:
Phil Martelli, Ken Hitchcock, Keith Jones, Bob Kelly, Parent, Ryan Madson, John Marzano, Barkley, Jaworski, Lito Sheppard, Mike Quick, Glen Macnow, Anthony Gargano, Marc Zumoff, Derrick Gunn, Adam Taliaferro, Hugh Douglas, Matt McCoy, Reno Mahe, Cecil Martin, Mitch Williams, Jim Jackson and Garry Cobb.
"There is a definite need for what we do," Plotkin said. "Not just in the area, but nobody across the country does what we do exactly the way we do it."
And that, in part, stems from sheer biology. A woman's touch on a normally coarse landscape has proven to be a big advantage in a business that requires attention to detail and subtle persistence.
With the word of their unique service beginning to spread, Philadelphia Sports Group is being called upon to provide star power for anything from a birthday party to a Fortune 500 gathering, and everything in-between.
"We are a one-stop shop for an athlete for any event," Barkann said.
And now, the question that ignited this venture has a definitive answer.
"If you're looking for an athlete call the Philadelphia Sports Group," Barkann said.
For more info, feel free to call Barkann or Plotkin at 610-688-8888 or visit www.philadelphiasportsgroup.com.
Other sports main page