Sports Agents: The Ultimate Movers and Shakers

Andrew MeesAnalyst IJuly 8, 2008

Entourage's Johnny Drama once quipped, "An agent, by nature, is a lying, money-hungry c***sucker.  That's the breed."

Professional sports in America have never been more lucrative than they are at the present time, with leagues earning billions of dollars a year from various revenue streams.

And who's there to make sure the athletes—the ones who bring in those billions of dollars—get the compensation they think they deserve?

Why, your friendly neighborhood sports agent. And all it will cost you is 10 percent.

While the nature of the profession has prompted negative comments from fictional characters like Mr. Drama and the most prominent writers of the sporting world alike, the fact remains the modern-day sports agent is the most influential non-athlete of American sports in the last 25 years, and the true embodiment of a mover and shaker.

Armed with the tenacity of an NFL linebacker, the motor of a top NBA draft prospect, and the negotiation tactics of a world-class attorney, sports agents go to war every day for their clients, making sure all their needs are met, and making sure they build their business empires one contract at a time.

The ultimate spin-doctors, they can turn a pitcher with a .500 career record into an $11 million a year second-coming of Cy Young (See: Burnett, A.J.). 

They negotiate business-savvy clauses in their clients' contracts, everything from performance-based incentives to early-termination options, all of which empower their client and give them the piece of mind they so desperately crave.

What really makes the sports agent such a fascinating creature, though, is the multitude of mediums they must be solid in to represent their client to the best of their ability.

To get a client the maximum amount of money possible, an agent must understand not only the current market for his services, but also the inner-workings of the professional contract, all while taking into account the clients' needs and wants, which ultimately are priority No. 1.

The best of the best have an outstanding knowledge of the game and the ability to understand what his client can offer that no one else on the market can. He must be able to market his player and make him appear to be the player every team has to have.

Then, there's the underbelly.

The best agents in the world of professional sports are the ones who never tip their hand. The ones who'll pitch their client like a used-car salesman, neglecting the aspects that will turn a prospective buyer away. They'll tell you there's 10 teams interested, when in reality, there's one or two, or maybe even none. It's not lying, but it's not the truth either.  

They are the ones who are vicious negotiators, making sure their client gets every single penny they feel the market dictates. And most importantly, they're the ones who general managers and owners cringe at the sight of, because they know they're going to have to open up their wallet a lot further than they'd like.

Professional sports are bringing in revenue in record numbers, and at the epicenter of the money train are the athletes. They're the ones bringing the fans to the stadiums. The ones whose jerseys you buy at the mall.

To ensure these players get their fair share of the astronomical figures, they need someone who's willing to fight for them, while gaining their own power and prestige in the process.

They need a lying, money-hungry c***sucker. 

They need a sports agent, the ultimate mover and shaker in American sports.