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Dallas barber unsure about celebrity barber label, even when Dak Prescott sits in his chair

Pro athletes flock to chair of North Texas barber
Pro athletes flock to chair of North Texas barber 04:41

DALLAS -- Who lets a 12-year-old boy give them a haircut? 

Abel Hernandez said his older brother Juan (Jr) Hernandez permitted him. Hernandez said two days later, he asked if he needed another trim.

Twelve years later, the 24-year-old can almost sit back like a veteran barber because his family let him build his skills.

"Then after that, it was my dad, my cousin," Hernandez said.

The Pleasant Grove native said the haircuts were free until he got better. Hernandez did start charging. $5 was the first fee. Then, he went up to $8 and $10. By high school graduation, he ran an unlicensed business where customers coughed up $20 a cut.

He was the youngest of Juan (Sr) and Maria Hernandez's three sons. Hernandez chose between his beloved trumpet and his passion for cutting hair.

One of the choices was to pay the bills. He was a newlywed and a father who decided to get his barber's license. It was more challenging than he thought.

"I actually failed the exam three times," he said.

He believes the failures made him a safer barber. Now with a license and a dream, Hernandez used his millennial hustle on Instagram, creating quirky videos showcasing his clients' cuts. His posts paid off. He got a DM from a college player training in Frisco. 

"At the time, I didn't know much about football," Hernandez said.

"Hey, bro, I need a barber bad. Do you have availability today?"

The direct message was from Ogbo Okoronkwo, an Oklahoma Sooner.

Okoronkwo loved the cut, he said. Other players where the Sooner defensive star was training wanted Hernandez's information.

Okoronkwo would go on to play for the LA Rams, the Houston Texans, and the Cleveland Browns.

Hernandez started trimming up the Griffin twins, Shaquem and Shaquill, who also went to the NFL.

Former Dallas Cowboys receiver Lance Lenoir came on as a client. He opened the door to more teammates and connected Hernandez with the quarterback.

"Lance texted me saying, Hey, bro, Dak needs a haircut today," Hernandez remembered. "He needed a 2 p.m."

Hernandez said he tossed his lunch aside and called Dak Prescott. The quarterback remains a client to this day.

"He's been a real cool, awesome client and friend to, you know," he said.

Also, grabbing a chair with Abel the Barber: Charvarius "Mooney" Ward from the San Francisco 49ers, Christian Kirk from the Jacksonville Jaguars, Chase Edmonds with the Arizona Cardinals, Derrick Henry with the Baltimore Ravens, and the list continues to grow.

Hernandez said Ezekiel Elliot hooked him up with Jason Tatum from the Boston Celtics in Dallas, playing against the Mavs.

"The day I cut his hair, he had a career-high stat game," Hernandez said.

Tatum is also on his books before Wednesday's crucial NBA Finals game three. According to the North Dallas barber who goes by "Abel the Barber," a player from the Mavs roster has called him, too.

"I've had one reach out to me before, but our schedules just didn't align. But I feel like that's going to change really soon," He said.

His dream of opening a barber shop with elite barbers almost ended. He had two accidents. The husband and father acknowledge he'd been drinking behind the wheel. 

The last accident happened in March 2023, when a traffic light malfunctioned. He got t-boned after dropping off his daughter, Gabriella.

"I know a lot of barbers that go through that, too," Hernandez said.

He got counseling to confront his drinking habits and for his marriage. 

Hernandez and wife Karina welcomed son Abel into the world five months ago.

Hernandez has been sober since November 2023 but doesn't want anyone to believe he was a chronic drinker. But his cup was full enough to pour experience for others.

"And I've had clients that I've been able to speak to them in a impactful way," he said.

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