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.
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!