Meet the Sunset Park sculptor who creates fantasy football trophies
Fantasy football team owners will soon be gathering together in bars and in friends’ living rooms all over Brooklyn to conduct drafts to select players for their teams for the 2015 season. Unlike real NFL teams, the fantasy footballers don’t get the Vince Lombardi Trophy for winning the Super Bowl.
But they do get a handsome trophy. And for many of the leagues, the championship hardware is made right here in Brooklyn.
Sculptor Dave Mitri, who works out of his studio on 18th Street in Sunset Park, has handcrafted hundreds of championship trophies for fantasy sports leagues over the past few years and is expecting to do brisk business this season as well.
“Guys go crazy for these trophies. They become obsessed with winning them and beating their buddies, but in a good-natured way,” Mitri said.
Mitri, a native of Cleveland who holds a Master’s Degree in Fine Art from Edinboro University, is the founder of FantasyTrophies.com, a company that makes and sells championship trophies for all kinds of fantasy football, baseball, basketball and hockey leagues. He also creates golf trophies.
Mitri’s specialty is making bronze-coated trophies that weigh up to 22 pounds. The trophies are a tongue-in-cheek tribute to the enthusiasm the country’s 30 million fantasy sports fans have for their teams. A longtime fantasy football fan, Mitri meticulously sculpts all of the trophies himself in his Sunset Park studio, then creates silicone molds and casts each one. In a finishing touch, he then adds an engraved nameplate for each winner.
His most popular styles are “The Armchair Quarterback” and “The Throwback,” which, true to its name, depicts a football player who looks like he could have been calling plays in the 1930s.
Mitri creates smaller trophies for individual winners as well as larger models that have enough room to record a league’s history.
Some of his other models include “The Mulligan,” a tribute to golfers, and “The Ultimate Loser,” a football trophy awarded to the fantasy team owner with the worst record of the season. The trophy is a toilet bowl.
Last year, hundreds of fantasy football leagues, including one in which superstar Jay-Z participated, awarded one of Mitri’s vintage-style trophies as the championship prize.
“The trophies are also an homage to male friendship and the bonds that are strengthened in these leagues,” Mitri said.
For more information, visit Mitri’s website at www.fantasytrophies.com.
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