Attorney’s T-shirt business features memorable sports events
Los Angeles Daily Journal, January 2, 2018
Commemorating the biggest moments in sports history is attorney Glen Rothstein’s passion project.
When someone is asked to think of their favorite sports moment of all time, Glen Rothstein said there’s a good chance their first reaction will be a smile. He’s banking on that positive association through his T-shirt company, “Where Were You When?”
The company’s presentation is simple. His T-shirts typically feature an important date in sports history, plus a tagline to identify the event. One of his best sellers, for example, is a T-shirt that commemorates the day the U.S. Supreme Court granted Muhammad Ali’s appeal of his conviction for refusing to participate in the Vietnam War, paving the way for his return to the boxing ring.
On the shirt is the date of the Supreme Court decision — June 28, 1971 — and the case citation.
“I really wanted to make something that wasn’t just cool looking — which it is — but something that creates a conversation,” said Rothstein, an attorney at Rothstein Law PLC in Santa Monica. “You see that Ali shirt, and it creates a discussion. People want to talk about that moment.”
The idea came to Rothstein about four years ago, when he was out to dinner right before Father’s Day. He ran into Tyus Edney, who in 1995 scored the game-winning shot for UCLA in the second round of the NCAA Men’s Championship. In addition to being one of the biggest moments in NCAA tournament history, Rothstein said it had a personal meaning to him. It was a uniting moment for his whole family.
At Rothstein’s request, Edney called up Rothstein’s father to wish him a happy Father’s Day. Rothstein thanked him, and the two exchanged numbers. Wanting to repay Edney and aware of the looming 20th anniversary of Edney’s game-winning shot, Rothstein tried to think of a way to capitalize on the moment.
That’s when the concept behind “Where Were You When?” came to him.
“I set out to sell licensed products that capture popular sports moments, with the notion being that if someone’s having a bad day, maybe they can put on a shirt that brings back some happy memories,” Rothstein said.
That shirt was Rothstein’s first, but others weren’t far behind. Aside from the Muhammad Ali shirt — the company’s best seller — other favorites include “4-15-47,” commemorating Jackie Robinson’s breaking of the color barrier in baseball, and “12-23-72,” the date of one of the most historic football plays in history, the “Immaculate Reception.”
Rothstein said that while his law firm always comes first, his legal career brings some added perks. Working so closely to Hollywood and sports figures allows him to leverage that network in his side project.
One of the T-shirt company’s biggest investors is Sports 1 Marketing, a client of Rothstein’s. David Meltzer, the company’s CEO, said that Rothstein is especially keen on picking up sports-related licenses that the typical licensee might miss — like the catchphrase “bigger than the game,” first popularized by Major League Baseball’s Dick Hayhurst.
“By utilizing these off-brand licenses, I saw a significant upside,” Meltzer said. “Glen can not only navigate the legal waters of each of these licenses, but seek and execute on the licenses other people might have missed.”
He’s also shopped the apparel out to some of his celebrity clients for some added promotional power, such as retired adult film actress Sasha Grey.
Grey said she met Rothstein a few years ago and bonded quickly over sports — though she admits “he’s much more of a fanatic than I am.”
“His apparel line — it’s a labor of love,” Grey said.
Grey said that even people who aren’t all that into sports generally can think of one or two sports moments that bring back a flood of good memories. For her, it was when the Cowboys beat the Steelers at Super Bowl XXX.
“We all have those moments,” Grey said. “That’s what the brand’s all about.”
A new slogan that Rothstein hopes to utilize is “Fly the W,” a phrase that originated with the Chicago Cubs in reference to their win flag. But he’s run into some snags.
He checked with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and saw the slogan wasn’t registered, so he made a move for it. Major League Baseball and the Cubs ended up opposing Rothstein’s license on a common law basis, as the phrase is associated with them.
Rothstein said he hasn’t taken any action beyond licensing the slogan, though he’s hopeful he’ll be able to hammer out some sort of agreement that will allow him to monetize “Fly The W.”
“We’re not trying to steal Chicago’s thunder. We’ve had contacts with them and have offered to negotiate out some sort of deal where we can come together and give some of the profits to a charitable organization of the Cubs’ choice,” Rothstein said. “If we’re able to effectively monetize it, that money can be given back to the community.”
Sports fans can check out the company’s current apparel at www.wwywapparel.com.
Daily Journal Staff Writer
Glen Rothstein, an attorney at Rothstein Law PLC in Santa Monica, has created a T-shirt company featuring memorable sports moments.