Honestly, like many other people I’ve always had my doubts about sports agents. I have always wondered what true differences you need to advance yourself as a sports agent. What are the true ultimate goals of a sport agent? What really is said behind those close doors in a negotiating room or telephone? How do they really feel about their clients? Are they greedy? Meaning do they hold on to a client just for the convenience? Are they thinking that instead of allowing them to move on to another agent that is more catered to their needs, they tell their client what needs to be said to keep them around but don’t put forth the necessary work to actually keep their client working?
Let’s not kid ourselves, despite what most agents say, they do have favorite clients, more guaranteed clients that don’t make them necessarily have to work as hard to please. The client that is easier to promote. The client that has phone calls coming to the agents phone instead of vice versa. We all know that they are in it for the money as well, every job title is, but are they truly in it for the work or are they in it for the easiest path to their success, dropping behind and killing livelihoods as they climb?
Well, in my opinion I honestly think every agent has the capability to become a legal thief in that industry. If the clients job flow is coming easily then you will see an honest, committed, happy, open agent. Ready to answer questions for his client, ready to pick up every last one of his clients’ calls, completely open to involving his client in many different ideas. This to me doesn’t define an agent, this to me is what irks me about sports agents.
For me, you are not a true sports agent if the client is doing all the work, if the client’s play will gather its own results. To me this a definition of a Boss, a person who allows you to do your job and they get the benefit from it as well. The word “Agent” is simply their title. If you understand a little math, do some investigative statistical work about the other players in your clients position and compare stats then demand a certain amount, that shouldn’t qualify you to be a sports agent. A caring friend maybe, but not a sports agent. I have to give you a percentage of my hard work based off the very things that would happen whether you are around or not? Or should you get compensated for the things I actually can’t do myself? Such as helping family members in situations of needs while i am away on a road trip, finding work overseas if needed, extra endorsements when you are just an average professional player, how bout showing me how good an agent you are by getting me a multi-year deal when I only had an average to ok year. If you look at professional contracts these days, they are all categorized, the top players make a certain amount, the good players makes a certain amount and the guys under them make a certain amount. There is no special sports agent that can land their client that averaged 10points and 8rebounds in his second year a 85 million dollar contract for 5 years. Or a decent player coming out of college a multi-year deal for 15 a month overseas on a respectable team that will guarantee pay. But, guess what, go check the statistics, that doesn’t ever happen. Yes they will answer the phone calls for the teams that are interested in you, and then you put your livelihood in the agent hand, but don’t you think a family friend or family member would be more suitable for such things? I personally think the actual player should be picking up the phone and talking to the teams.
However, these “sports agents” have completely pulled the wool over our eyes. I often read articles about players praising their agents for getting them their contracts and how much they couldn’t have got it done without them, it just makes me laugh out loud. Yet, their body of work on the court obviously is what got their contracts. This very ignorance is the reason a rapper such as Jay-Z can get involved in that line of work, nabbing players such as Robinson Cano and Jadeveon Clowney. You don’t see him trying to go get that player who plays in Honduras for $2,500 a month, do you?
What is a legal thief? My definition of a legal thief is someone that poses as someone or something under legal circumstances but not interested in doing the true job at hand, but interested in attaining the money. This of course steer a lot of “Agents” to professional sports. But can I call them a Sports Agent? Or better yet, is this what a sports agent is? Am I looking to deeply into the job a Sport Agent should always do? Because once a client begins to demand more work to be done to land them a job, once an injury has occurred and the doors are a little slimmer to fit into, the first year the scoring average dips a few points, the first moments your professional job forces you overseas, are the moments you notice a change in your agent. It was all good just a week ago!
In my experience with agents, once these pressures begin you realize that they actually aren’t needed at all. I’ve noticed that once actual work is required and research and promoting of their client is needed, when going above and beyond to actually land their client a respectable job is needed and once they are out of their comfort zones and actually have to go over the hill to work for you, the very thing you actually hired them for, then the true side of a “Sports Agent” exposes itself.
To me, a Sports Agent is nothing more than a legal thief, prowling around different players that they think they can swindle money from (legally) until they suck their services dry, then suddenly swim away to the next client, holding you hostage with belief until you finally pull the plug on them, to only go find another agent who is in desperate need to legally steal your money until its something better out there for them. No different than a car salesman or “financial advisor”. It baffles me why athletes don’t group a sport agent into this same category. A Sports Agent that is ready to work hard in hard circumstances are almost unidentified. All agents will tell you this, but they tell you this when you are the hottest thing on the block, when in all actuality, with a little effort, work and research, you don’t need them.
Maybe one day the athlete will begin to understand the true art of being a sports agent and realize that it is nothing more than an advisor. Maybe once athletes understand this, they will begin to use the agents the right way. Until this happen sports agents will always be able to hide under the title while soaking small chunks of your money to answer the calls that were going to come your way anyway. Until this happen there will be plenty of legal thieves getting rich off athletes, out lasting their clients in the sports world, strolling from college to college, state to state, country to country with sports agent mask, grabbing and robbing their next victims.