The following interview was conducted by Matthew Hochberg. The subject of the interview was Greg Linton of HOF Player Representatives. Linton is an NFLPA and WNBA Certified Contract Advisor who is never afraid to speak his mind and is a fantastic person to follow on Twitter (@AgentLinton).
Matthew Hochberg: What made you want to become a sports agent?
Greg Linton: In all honesty it wasn’t something that I sat down and said, “this is what I want to do”. I’ve seen the movies, read books and had a glorified idea of what the job would be like, until I met some actual agents and realized that what I thought, and what was reality were two different things.
I actually became an agent out of necessity. I had a friend who was playing ball, and she was going to get drafted into the WNBA, and wanted me to rep her. So I became certified, and met other agents to help place her overseas. In that span, I recruited more players and had a decent amount of success in placing players overseas.
I became NFL certified because I had a best friend and a cousin that were going to be eligible for the draft in a couple of years so I figured I would become NFL certified and sign them up. Needless to say, neither one of them signed with me. That was my FIRST lesson of being an agent, “What you expect will happen, will rarely happen”.
Matthew Hochberg: What kind of impact did attending the University of Kentucky have on you to become a sports agent?
Greg Linton: Attending UK provided me with a solid education. It also reinforced my love for sports, by being a part of the most passionate fan base in the country. By being a graduate of the school, it also gave me something in common with some of the players I would later recruit. Being able to have some of the same experiences and stories created a level of comfort that we were able to share.
Matthew Hochberg: What are the best perks in being a sports agent?
Greg Linton: Everyone has different ideas of perks. To some it’s the amount of money you could make. This is a common and very damaging misconception that a lot of people have, when in fact very few actually make money to live off of comfortably.
To me it would have to be the fact that I am a part of the journey to which young men and women realize their dream of playing professional sports. And to be around sports, which as a former athlete is a real plus/perk to me…
Matthew Hochberg: What are some of the tough things you must overcome in the sports agent business?
Greg Linton: The number one thing you must overcome to be in the business is understanding people. You have to be able to get a read on people early to see if they are basically friend or foe. And if it’s a player, if he is actually wasting your time or is genuinely interested in you as an agent.
Secondly, is competition. There are plenty of other agents out here that are trying to get the same thing you are after. And many of them have more experience, more money etc.
Also dealing with parents, coaches, managers, handlers, etc. can be roadblocks in talking with players.
And the money aspect. To pay dues, insurance, recruit, games, state registrations, paying for training, per diems, marketing guarantees, loans etc. and you can see how it can get very expensive very fast…
Matthew Hochberg: What has been your most embarrassing moment as a sports agent?
Greg Linton: I had a player tell me he was signing with me, so I jumped in the car and drove the 5 hours to get him to sign the Standard Representation Agreement (SRA). Got there and there was his mother and another agent there, and they told me that he had changed his mind and was signing with the other guy. By the way, he has since fired that guy.
Matthew Hochberg: What are your future goals in life?
Greg Linton: TO BUY MY MOTHER A HOUSE. That is my number one priority. Then buy her a car that she deserves. I want to make sure she is taken care of, after all she put up and did with and for me, she deserves to be taken care of.
And far as personally, to just keep doing what I’m doing and hopefully become a positive influence in some peoples’ lives.
Matthew Hochberg: How big of an accomplishment would you consider the 1,700+ Twitter followers you have?
Greg Linton: It’s funny, and I am humbled, but I know other agents that have a lot more than I do. What I do value is the conversations that I have with some of my followers and I seem to be an influence to some of my followers. So if I can be that to a few, then I would consider it a big accomplishment.
Matthew Hochberg: On behalf of SportsAgentBlog.com, I would like to thank Mr. Linton for sharing his knowledge and personal experiences with us. You can check out his company’s website at http://www.hofplayer.com/