Book Review: Tanked! The Tank Black Story

This Thanksgiving, Tank Black has a lot to be thankful for.  The one-time University of South Carolina football assistant coach and founder of a mega sports agency, Professional Management Incorporated (PMI), was released from prison a little over a year ago.  Today, he is still a free man and living, which he should be very thankful for.

tanked!As a graduate of the University of Florida and current third year law student at UF’s Levin College of Law, I have heard quite a bit about Tank Black.  In fact, he was a topic of discussion in my Sports Law Seminar class this semester.  In my field of work, he is most known for stealing money from clients and illegally paying money to college players to induce them to sign with his company.  What I did not know was that he was also accused of money-laundering and securities fraud.  Quite a list for someone who was representing 1st round draft picks in the NFL.

So how did this all happen?  Pick up Tanked! The Tank Black Story.  The book was written by Tank Black, so be sure to expect a very biased opinion of what went down prior to his booking.  There is also quite a bit of gloating, but if you can get past all of that, the book is a great read.  It opens up a world of information that had been locked up behind bars with Mr. Black since July 2000, when he was handcuffed in the back of a police car.

The first half of the book is dedicated to his days growing up as a short black kid from eastern Tennessee.  It talks about his athleticism and his home life where he would understand the business of selling moonshine to survive.  When professional football did not work out for him, Tank picked up coaching, and eventually became a big time assistant coach at the University of South Carolina.  The second half of the book is where I thought the story really picked up.  He was very open about discussing relationships with his clients after he had become a sports agent.  There are interesting pieces about Andre “Bad Moon” Rison, Sterling Sharpe, Vince Carter (and his controlling mother), Rae Carruth, and much more.  And then there is the sad story of Cash 4 Titles, where Tank really screwed up a lot of his athletes’ investments.

I made a note to come back to page 219 (total of 317 pages) when I was going to prepare this post.  On that page, Tank is very honest about his foray into going to strip clubs with his clients.  But there was one particular line on that page that wrapped up the entire book.  Tank wrote, “If you put yourself into life’s forbidden fast lane shit will happen.”  How true is that?

Another page that I marked was page 262.  This one I will open up for discussion.  Tank wrote, “One fact that will always be true, almost all agents give and loan players things of value because that is the nature of the business.  Any top agent who claims to never have given a player or loaned a player something is simply not being honest.”  He wrote that in reference to giving/loaning something to college players, which is illegal and against NCAA rules.  Is he right?

There are few names of sports agents that someone not familiar with the sports agent industry will recognize.  Among them are the fictional Jerry McGuire, Drew Rosenhaus, Scott Boras, and Tank Black.  Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Tanked! The Tank Black Story.  If you have never heard of him, it is a must that you learn up real quick.  If you think you already know the story behind his problems, you owe it to yourself to hear it from his side.

I wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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  • I was waiting for your review and like it. Thank you. I enjoy the site also but I am not buying the book or reading it. One way to look like an idiot or slimeball on this or any other site is to say I never done this in my life and then have people line up and say otherwise. On the Tank Black statements about agents cheating: Bullshit. There are a number of agents that never operated in the dark—broke rules and laws. I can only confirm one for sure and if anyone disputes it, anywhere, anytime, identify yourself, come forward with facts, and make sure you have enough money for me to make it worth my time. And during his time I ranked higher than he ever dreamed: over 30 Pro Bowlers, several guys in the top 10 of the draft, Sporting News 100 Most Powerful in Sports. It is the wrong message. You just don’t have to do it that way although now with the NFLPA rules on contact to Juniors and contractual interference, you cannot be competitive if you follow them. I am for leading a movement to get them off the books.They make cheaters of the honest people in the business. Keep up the good work on this informative site.

    • I was hoping to receive a response like this. I agree that the rules promulgated by the NFLPA, other players associations’, AND statutory regulations like SPARTA and states that have adopted the UAAA need to be modified. You said it perfectly, “They make cheaters of the honest people in the business.” How can we really expect all agents to register in each and every state they recruit in? Sure, the CAAs and the WMGs can afford it, but not the boutiques. One thing we really need is a national registration system. One time fee, background check, done and done.

    • Ralph Cindrich,
      You are speaking out of ignorance when you speak about me. You may want to read my book especially if your are gonna make comments regarding my situation. I never took shots at any agents in my book because I know the agent business is a difficult, cut throat type business. My normal meeting with a player and his family would last at least 5 hours.You make the comment that during my time you ranked higher than I ever dreamed of. Let’s look at the numbers. You started your business in 1977 and you have represented players for over 39 years to date. On your website you claim that you represented 27 Pro Bowlers and 20 first round picks. I started my business in 1988 with Sterling Sharpe. I went 11 years to 1999. In only 11 years I represented 28 Pro Bowlers and 23 first round picks. In less than 1/3 of the time I have represented more Pro Bowlers and more first round picks than you and this doesn’t count two NBA All-Stars and two NBA first rounders. I also represented over 150 players in those 11 years. You know the hard work and professionalism that goes into this kind of success. You of all people know that a player who is going to make millions will not go with an agent because the gets some money from an agent. Please read the book if you want to know what really happen.

      • Dave

        Loser agents that can’t win any other way do that crap.

  • JaQay Carlyle

    four letters – A R P A

    With teeth it legitimizes the business. Instead of 250k contributions to AAU programs.

  • bevo

    I read the book based solely on the review from this web site. Thank you. I enjoyed the book for two reasons.

    One, the NFLPA under Gene Upshaw was no more than a management union.

    Two, the NCAA must bitch slap USC for Reggie Bush and New Era Marketing. This book corroborates New Marketing’s story.

    Finally, I am left wondering how much longer we are going to tolerate the environment the NCAA and its members have created and maintained in football and men’s basketball.

    When I started my MA in sports marketing, I thought it was the sport that corrupted the institution. When I left college athletics as an administrator I realized it was the institution that corrupted the sport. Players are nothing more than meat. The only question now who is going to buy them and for how much.

    Despite the capitalization errors, I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to look at college sports from a third but vested side; the agent.