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Over the past eight NBA seasons, Potomac basketball blowhard Robin Ficker has gained a measure of celebrity/infamy via high-volume, lowbrow means: He’s the guy who, night after night after night, verbally abuses the Washington Bullets’ opponents from a seat directly behind the visitors’ bench.
By day Ficker is an attorney, but he’s no better mannered in his professional life than his sporting one. Ficker’s three-man law firm is currently running ads in the Washington Post that reflect all the propriety of his Capital Centre (sorry—USAir Arena) antics.
“PALIMONY Actions against wealthy men” read the one-inch-by-one-column ads for Robin Ficker and Associates, which appear in the Style section every Monday.
Although the Post ads have only been running for a few weeks, this isn’t Ficker’s first attempt to solicit palimony suits: Three years ago, a similar Ficker ad campaign attracted the attention of the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission, which contended that since Ficker knew Maryland courts didn’t recognize such suits, his solicitations were fraudulent. Ultimately, the Maryland Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, ruled against the commission and declined to censure Ficker for his palimony endeavors.
Asked why he’s returned to the palimony well, Ficker states, “I was hoping there might be another Ms. Flowers out there somewhere.”
Despite their brevity, Ficker claims that the ads, which cost him $170 a pop, are attracting the desired class of claimant to his firm.
“I’ve already gotten two gems since I started running the ads again,” he says. He declines to name names, citing a hope that the cases can be settled out of court, with his clients’ anonymity intact.
T hose wondering whether Ficker would follow Michael Jordan’s lead and abandon the NBA spotlight might note that his 1993-94 Bullets season tickets (for which he pays $150 a game) have already arrived.
Had Ficker retired his mouth this season, he too could brag of going out on top. During last season’s NBA Finals in Phoenix, Ficker became a national spectacle as he berated the Bulls, primarily Jordan, from a seat just behind the eventual Three-peaters’ bench. (Ficker hints that Phoenix Suns forward Charles Barkley procured the choice ticket for him.) At one point during the series, NBC’s cameras broke away from on-court coverage and went to an Ahmad Rashad report on Ficker from the corridors of the Air West Arena. His nonstop bellowing about Jordan’s gambling proclivities, which included props like playing cards, $100 bills, and dice, got him thrown out of the arena and ultimately landed him in a Phoenix jail on trespassing charges. He’s currently drafting a false-arrest suit against the Arizona lawmen for his incarceration.
Ficker insists he’ll retain his share of publicity despite Jordan’s absence, and has already begun focusing his attention on Orlando Magic center Shaquille O’Neill, the likely king of the post-Air NBA.
“I’ll launch a Shaq attack when he gets here,” he says. “I’ll never retire.” David McKenna
Art accompanying story in the printed newspaper is not available in this archive: Photograph by Michael J. Spilotro.