Show me the Money!
Aspiring sports agents around the world have all referenced the film “Jerry Maguire” at least once in their lifetime. This past weekend about 25 young professionals got the opportunity to take part in the inaugural Steinberg Sports and Entertainment “The Leigh Steinberg Sports Agent Academy” in Newport Beach, California; Leigh Steinberg is known around the sports industry as the real Jerry Maguire. This 1 day conference took participants through the ins and outs of the industry and effective representation.
Steinberg, along with attorney and Chief Operating Officer of Steinberg Sports and Entertainment, Chris Cabott, who has been regarded by Steinberg as the next super-agent, led the group through various components of becoming a successful agent as well as an interactive mock recruiting exercise. Steinberg took attendees through his career, which varies from representing Olympians to coaches, starting from the very beginning with his first client, 1975 #1 draft pick Steve Bartkowski. Steinberg encouraged us all to take a personal inventory to understand our priorities and then when recruiting players to research and ask questions that allow you to develop an inventory on them as well, so you have clients whose morals and values reflect yours and you both can work together cohesively. The inaugural class not only walked away with a signed copy of Steinberg’s book “The Agent” but also with a wealth of knowledge and inspiration to go out and impact the industry. Steinberg told the class that “Each of you can leave a legacy….You are a steward of this sport.” He also noted that he was pleased to see women in the room (5) because he feels that it is time for a woman to come into the athlete representation field and take over in a major way like they have in other avenues in sports such as media. As stated before, Steinberg being known as the real Jerry Maguire also told candid stories of how he worked on sport films such as “Jerry Maguire” and “Any Given Sunday” and was responsible for getting actors into character such as Cameron Diaz as Christina Pagniacci, general manager of the Miami Sharks in the film “Any Given Sunday” and Cuba Gooding Jr. as wide receiver Rod Tidwell in his Academy-Award winning performance in the film “Jerry Maguire”.
Attendees traveled from near and far to learn from the best; many were local California residents while others traveled from Texas and I rounded out the group coming all the way from North Carolina. The background of the inaugural class was unique in which it ranged from a high school senior to a CFL agent. This academy is exceptional and one-of-a-kind, because although this field is growing rapidly, there are no other conferences out there that cater directly to the aspiring or up-and-coming sports agent. When asked what he wanted attendees to do as they further their journey into the world of athletic representation, Steinberg said “Have passion, energy, and belief in yourself… Be present with everything you have, stay focused!”