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Friday, November 14, 2008

Todd Marinovich's brother hopes the smoking business goes a little better for him

The partially-bearded young man on the left is Mikhail Marinovich, 20, Syracuse defensive end and younger brother of the infamous Todd Marinovich. On the right, Niko Rechul, 21, native German, economics and finance double major and Syracuse punter. They're enjoying the fruits of their spanking new business venture in the 'Cuse, Hollywood Hookah, which opened Thursday.

It's not only a) The only athlete-owned business of which I'm aware among major college football players (since they put Jimmy Johns out of commission, anyway), but also b) Probably the only college-run venture of any kind to get written up Thursday for The New York Times. With all the hookah-smoking, college football-loving, upstate-traveling Times readers, that's got to be good for business.

It also helps that Rechul and Marinovich are hookah enthusiasts (for tobacco only, of course, fine, flavorful Al Fakher Shisha and nothing else, ever). They conceived the idea in a bowling alley over the summer. Three months and another wayward football season later, the dream of providing flavored tobacco for young adults to suck into their lungs is a reality. Lord knows how he has time, energy or money to pull this off (unless Syracuse has just quit practicing altogether, which would explain a lot, actually), but by owning a business -- any business -- Mikhail automatically assumes the role of "responsible son" among the offspring of ex-USC star Marv Marinovich, whose notorious efforts to engineer Todd into the perfect quarterback sort of, you know, backfired in the form of a half-dozen arrests for possession of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine and another for sexual assault since his senior year at USC in 1991.

Marv seems to have had a lighter tough with Mikhail -- the Daily reports the younger Marinovich has been visiting hookah bars since he was 16, whereas Todd couldn't so much as lay eyes on a grain of sugar -- and I would think holding down a job involving (presumably) legal substances and a title above "anarchist" puts him well above the bar. I mean, there was the arrest for breaking into an equipment room with another teammate back in March, but clearly he's turned a corner, right?