Inside Stories from an NFL Barber Shop


A lot of stories are shared in a barber’s chair. In my NFL preferred barber interviews I hope to give you an insider’s view into their world. In Part I of “Cutting it Up” I introduced Al Parks the personal barber too many of the Buffalo Bills.  Most of Al’s player clients make weekly visits to his shop which has allowed him to spend quality time getting to these guys. One can imagine the stories Al Parks has heard in his shop.

Here is Part II of the interview I did with Al Parks from AL’s Unisex Barber Shop On 1849 Genesee St. in Buffalo, NY.

Besides football, what do players talk about when getting their line ups or cuts? What have you learned about the guys while they sit in your chair?

Al the Barber with Bill's RB CJ Spiller

Yes, I’ve gotten to know a lot of the Buffalo Bills players over the years pretty well by cutting their hair.  Some of the most interesting stories guys tell me are about their investments and goals outside of football.  Many players have big business goals.  I have gotten to be pretty good at giving advice in regards to different business ideas.  I am usually older then the players I cut and have been in business for so long that they respect my business venture insights.

I went as far as helping one player a get a Barber license for his younger brother who lived in a different state.  The player had talked about opening his own barber shop back in his home town where his brother still lived and would begin cutting.  The player’s plan was to manage the shop and his little brother would transfer the license back to his home state.  I helped them out so they wouldn’t have to go to the two year school that was required in their home state.

Any smaller investments Buffalo Bills players have told you about?

Chris Ellis

One player once told me that his goal was to purchase at least 4 vehicles.  He said he was buying a house for himself and one for his mother.  Once those things were accomplished, he said he wanted to buy at least 300 pairs of sneakers.  With some cars, a couple houses, and a collection of sneaks he told me he would then start thinking about his life and future.

It sounds like you become more then a barber to the players , you’ve built friendships.  Have you kicked it with any of your guys outside the shop?

The guys invite me to games and training camp now and then.  One player and I had become such good friends that at the end of his season with the Bills he told me to come out to his house in Orchard Park.  More specifically, he asked that I bring a pick-up truck.  When I got there the player told me to look around.  Then he graciously said to walk around and take whatever I wanted.  A lot of times players don’t end up dragging all their stuff with them from city to city.  That was really generous.

What is one of the craziest events you been invited to by the players?

One time I was cutting a player’s hair, I won’t say the name, but he stated that he and a few other players were headed to a LeBron James party in Vegas.  He asked me if I wanted to go.  He said all I needed was only $4,000 dollars.  I chuckled and reminded myself that $4,000 was a bit much for a small-timer like myself.  I didn’t make it to LeBron’s party but was appreciative because that player did pay me $200 dollars for every haircut.

Which current NFL Player or Bills player would you want sitting in your barber shop chair and why?

Bill's Athletic Trainer Shone Gipson

If I could request one player to receive a haircut in my shop it would be Ray Lewis from the Baltimore Ravens.  I like Ray because he is a team leader, a team motivator and a motivational speaker.  The qualities Ray exemplifies, has led his team currently to the playoffs and possibly the Super Bowl.

If Ray walked in the shop, I know my barbers would learn a lot from just one session with him.  To me, after all these years in the NFL, Ray is still as hungry for the game as he was his rookie year.  He reminds me of myself.  I still feel hungry for more after cutting hair for 23 years, as if I was still a rookie trying to make the team.  Since I have started I have never let up.  Like the players I cut, that’s what keeps them as well as me so successful in our fields of work.

Continued from Part I of Cutting Up With Al the Barber:

[portfolio_slideshow size=large showtitles=false showcaps=false showdesc=false pagerstyle=bullets exclude=26574]

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.