Having a basketball agent or being apart of a sports agency is a topic that I haven’t coved until now on purpose. In the sea of agents and agencies, you the player just becomes a commodity that is used to generate revenue. Most agents and agencies just don’t care about you as a person. The day you get too old and not good enough you get dropped like a filthy habit. If you want to know what I mean, watch the movie Jerry Maguire.
I know there are basketball players out there desperate to go on and play pro basketball but it is important that you don’t get burned. Signing a contract with an agent or agency has repercussions, so let me break things down for you so that you could avoid getting into trouble.
How basketball agents and sports agencies work
Agents and agencies make money from basketball players or all athletes they represent, for that matter, in two main ways.
- By taking a decent cut out of your pay (a percentage of what you earn)
- By getting paid a sum of money which is charged to the club when the athlete signs
The first method of taking a percentage of your wage is more common for the bigger sporting contracts. Like the NBA and big European league team players. Most of the imports and players I played with during my career, were not on massive money playing basketball. I think the imports at Guildford were on about £30,000 for a 5 month season. I know their agents took a once off fee which the club payed for. Not having spoken to players that got a reoccurring fee deducted from their wages, it’s hard for me to comment around the process. All I know is the money was wired to the players account minus the agents fees.
Now how much an agent takes depends on the contract the athlete signs. I’ve heard around 10%, which is substantial. Especially if you are on a big contract like the NBA boys. Contracts vary and there’s plenty of them out there. I can’t stress this enough. If you are looking to sign with an agent make sure you understand what you are signing up for, and get independent legal advice if you don’t.
Services an agent offers
Again, it’s hard for me to comment at length as to what agents and agencies offer players as it varies from agency to agency. But from what I have seen with my teammates, agents offer:
- recruiting for other teams
- negotiate higher wages
- pay and fly you over to PROAMS and exposure camps
- ensure that the team is taking care of you as per contract obligations
These are but a few services that I have seen personally offered. Some agencies for the bigger athletes have handled shoe deals and promotions. It’s a lucrative market out there especially if you are a superstar basketball player.
Signing with an agent will lose your college eligibility
The up and coming generation of basketball players these days want to forgo college and get in to the professional basketball ranks immediately. I have 20 year old kids telling me that they want to skip college and go pro because they are not getting any younger. Are you serious?
I feel that more and more young basketball players will look to ways of going pro sooner and one such way is to sign with an agent. Here lies the problem. Most young basketball players that I see are not mature for the professional game. They haven’t grown into their bodies and do not have the physical ability to compete with seasoned adult basketball players. I’ve seen this first hand playing summer league in England. Young hot shot 18 years old getting demolished because they are not used to the physical nature of pro basketball.
This is why any young basketball player who is looking to go pro should take caution. Signing with an agent will see you lose your amateur ranking; in other words you will be ineligible to play college basketball. Ruling out your options to go play college basketball in USA and improve your game.
If you are a young basketball player; is ruling out your options for college worth signing with an agent that MIGHT be able to get you a pro gig? I stress the word might because nothing is guaranteed.
How can you find a basketball agent?
Here’s a few steps to follow to get in contact with an agency.
- Go to www.hoopsagents.com
- Select the country you want to play in.
- Hit the tab titled Agents.
- A list of agencies for that country will appear. Copy the agency name and Google it.
- Find the agencies website and use their contact details to get in touch with them.
Before you contact the agents I strongly suggest you do two things:
- Read the article I wrote “How to write a basketball resume”
- Buy the book “Build your basketball profile” this book breaks down everything you need to have a good basketball profile to share with agents and scouts. You can find out more about the book HERE. It’s only $5 so don’t be a tight ass. This is after all your dream of playing pro basketball right?
My experience with a basketball agent
When I finished playing college basketball I came back to Australia with the intent to go play professional basketball somewhere in Europe. I had been talking to Shaun King, a Canadian import here in Australia that played for the Sheffield Arrows, a team in the second division in UK. He set me up with a great gig to play on this team, the only catch, I wasn’t getting paid. They were happy to provide me with free accomodation and camps to coach kids and earn some money. Looking back on this now, it was a pretty good deal to get started with a pro basketball career. But I was too full of myself.
The reason I didn’t take this offer up was, firstly my inflated ego about being a division 1 basketball player but also the lies I was fed by a basketball agent.
When I cam back to Australia I tried every avenue to become a pro basketball player, one of these avenues was to try and sign with an agent. I spoke to an agent called Cedi Fredrick who’s agency he represented escapes me. He spoke to me about his connections to various basketball clubs in Europe and how he could hook me up with a pro gig. He even name dropped a Greek basketball club that was willing to pay €250,000.
Now, I never thought that I was a €250,000 player, I just wanted to play in England and get decent money (anything over AUD$40,000 would do). This agent inflated my ego so much that I thought the offer by Sheffield was just ridiculous. He promised me that I’d get a gig paying me enough to live well.
Reality, this agent was full of shit. He did call and email me a few times but after about four weeks of talking, things went silent, real quick. He went MIA and wasn’t able to be contacted. I called him several times, left messages but still I didn’t get a reply. So ended my confidence with agents.
When dealing with agents approach with caution! They can promise a basketball player the world and deliver nothing. If you are a junior player speaking with basketball agents has added risk as you might be in violation of NCAA rules, which potentially could see you ineligible to go play college basketball.
In my opinion agents should be dealt with on a case by case basis. Before signing anything with an agent, read through all the paperwork thoroughly. If you do not understand anything in the contract, get independent legal advice. It is a ploy for some agents to pressure you into signing on the spot. Do not feel pressured, if they insist walk away knowing that you just dogged a bullet.
Be diligent, there’s plenty of sharks in the ocean. Be careful where you swim!