Question: What do the February NBA trade deadline and peak moving season have in common?
Answer: Nothing – unless you are Chris Dingman.
This past February saw a record 37 NBA players change teams. And when all these players need to move – and move fast – Chris Dingman is the man many of them call.
According to this recent GQ article, Dingman “has moved dozens of all-stars and hall-of-famers in every major sport.” This may sound like a dream niche in our industry – a few of our own HAH movers have actually had a taste of this – but the devil is always in the details.
Here’s what Dingman had to say about serving some of the country’s top athletes.
— On hyperbaric chambers: “We disassemble and move those all the time.” Makes sense as ‘hyperbaric oxygen therapy’ or HBOT, is becoming increasingly common for athletes in reducing recovery time from injury and general exertion during workouts. Hey, maybe this would help our own crews!
— On memorabilia: “Helmets, basketballs, bats, footballs, jerseys and cleats. You name it.” Then his guys build crates for it all. Lucky us, we usually just put all that stuff in a large cardboard box.
— On odd items: “One client had a full suit of armor…another had over 300 pairs of shoes…one client needed the high school basketball wood floor he played on shipped across the country.” In other words, Chris’s guys are checking the ‘Other’ box a lot on the accessorial services section of the paperwork.
But even moving millionaire athletes can be business-as-usual.
— On trying to please people: “For a long time I said yes to everyone…people who wanted services performed for free, or want us to make exceptions…” After a while he realized he “couldn’t do that anymore, and started saying no.” Honestly, what is it like to say ‘No, we can’t do that for you’ to a 6’8” NBA power forward?
— On ‘the whirlwind’: “According to the collective bargaining agreement, (NBA players) have 48 hours to report to their new teams…some are going from first-place teams to cellar-dwellers or warm-weather locales to snow. Moving is a distraction that athletes, especially those in-season, don’t want or need…Some guys aren’t happy.” No word on how they tip.
— On family: Athletes are “no different from anyone else. They don’t want to move their kids in and out of schools…they want to have a normal life…and if we can help them, that’s great.” And if we could have that kind of normal life, well, that would be great too.
And on building his business?
— “I realized through conversations (with people he knew on the USC football coaching staff) that a lot of the coaches didn’t have a single point of contact when it came to moving needs, or packing up their stuff.” Yup. His business started by him talking to people.
— “After a few years, I realized (the athletes’ agents) were the gatekeepers…these were the people I needed to connect with.” And his business started booming when he started talking not to people he would be moving, but people who could introduce him to the people he would be moving.
So having gotten all those NBA players settled into their new cities is his peak season over? Not quite. In April he starts getting calls from NFL players who have to move to their new teams in time for pre-season.