In May 1975, a former dress manufacturer named Harry Kraft died in Boston and left his son Robert an “ethical will” — a Jewish custom that typically shares lessons of life upon death.
Robert Kraft disclosed that message to USA TODAY Sports in 1997:
“Remember the legacy I’m trying to leave you is a good name,” the father told the son. “It is a man’s most precious asset.”
Forty-four years later, that asset is being publicly tested like never before despite a lifetime of philanthropy and goodwill. After making a fortune in the paper and packaging business, Robert Kraft donated hundreds of millions to various causes and has led the New England Patriots to six Super Bowl wins since buying the team in 1994. In January, he even was awarded the so-called “Jewish Nobel” prize by the Genesis Prize Foundation for his commitment to Israel and Jewish values.
But something else also has played out publicly with Kraft in recent years, mostly since the death of his wife Myra in July 2011.
Kraft, 77, has developed an especially eccentric image as an NFL owner, drawing parallels to the 1986 movie “Back to School” — in which an older wealthy businessman goes to college and becomes popular on the party scene.
In Kraft’s case, he’s become known for wearing sneakers with business suits and dating a woman nearly half his age. He danced on stage with rapper Cardi B at a Super Bowl party this year. He even sported gaudy jewelry and hung out with other rap stars at the NBA All-Star game in Charlotte.