Sports agents are not “stuck” carrying that title for their entire lives.
Case in point = Jason Levien. Before becoming the Sacramento Kings Assistant General Manager at the end of 2008, Levien represented Kevin Martin in his contractual negotiations with the Kings. At Levien Sports Representation, he also advised many other basketball players, including Courtney Lee, Udonis Haslem, Luol Deng, Hedo Turkoglu, and Omri Casspi. Interesting note – Levien decided to leave the Kings a couple of weeks ago after what many believe to be unhappiness regarding his potential to rise up the Kings’ ranks with the contract extension signed by president Geoff Petrie, and Levien may be searching for a new position within the NBA.
Jeff Moorad worked alongside Leigh Steinberg in the 1980s, representing high profile NFL and MLB athletes. After roughly twenty years of acting as a sports agent, he became General Partner and CEO of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2004.
Mike Kearns also worked with Moorad and Steinberg as the chief of staff for Steinberg & Moorad. He later became the CEO of PROTRADE, which looks like it is no longer around.
Mike Barnett was an agent with IMG’s hockey division, and had the honor of looking over contracts that read names like Wayne Gretzky, Brett Hull, Jaromir Jagr, Joe Thornton, Sergei Fedorov, Alexander Mogilny, Owen Nolan, Mats Sundin, and Dany Heatley. He went on to become the General Manager of the Phoenix Coyotes for six years, and he is now Senior Advisor to the President and General Manager and Director of U.S. Amateur Scouting for the New York Rangers.
And we all know how many agents are also attorneys, either doing the sports representation practice on the side, or having a small law practice on the side while managing an agency on a full-time basis. Lon Babby is one of those hybrids. He is a Partner at Williams & Connolly (the firm Josh Childress used to use for his representation purposes), but his main focus is on sports law and negotiations. Babby represents big names like Grant Hill, Ray Allen, Tim Duncan, Shane Battier. Could he soon be following in Jason Levien’s footsteps, but skip starting as an assistant?
Rumors have been floating, which state that Babby is in the running to take over for former Phoenix Suns General Manager, Steve Kerr. Interestingly, Jason Levien may also be a potential candidate for the position. And Levien has a pretty good reference in Joe Maloof, who called the Suns to highly recommend Levien him for the GM job.