Patience Is A Virtue, But It’s Tough In The Sports Agent Business
The following is a guest contribution from Gerrit Kersten-Thiele. Thiele is the CEO & NBA/FIBA Certified Player Representative at Scorers 1st Sportmanagement.
I love working as a sports agent.
Developing relationships with and helping players and their families throughout the process of planning a professional career, developing that career and working with them and potential pro teams through contract negotiations is extremely rewarding. The relationships I have been able to build over the past 12 years in the business never ceases to amaze me and it’s impressive how small the basketball world really is.
With most pro basketball leagues in Europe starting this weekend after weeks of training camp and NBA teams heading into training camp this week, now is the time of the year that most players know where they will live from September to about May — or however long their respective season will be. Excitement for the “real” games and the competition builds daily. That’s the bright side of this business, when the contracts are signed and the season gets going.
But that’s just part of the story.
The rough side is when your clients and you don’t know where they will be headed next yet, even during this time of the early season. As an agent I feel like I let my clients down, if they aren’t signed yet and I can’t rest until they are taken care of and have a place to play. Being patient and believing in the plan you set together before becomes difficult when things don’t work out as planned.
So how do you patiently push forward while keeping your end goal in mind?
Being patient and working hard can lead to great things. This is the case for Marc Liyanage, who recently signed a one-year contract with German powerhouse ALBA Berlin. Since coming out of Division 2 Delta State University (Cleveland, Mississippi) in 2011 and spending the last four seasons in ProA Germany and stints in the BEKO BBL, Marc jumped on the opportunity to join ALBA for training camp, as they needed players to fill the void that German National Team players left due to their participation in the European Championships. We really didn’t know what the future would hold for the upcoming season or how long his time would be in Berlin and Marc easily could have sat and waited for a more concrete, guaranteed offer from another club. But Marc embraced the uncertainty to join the 2014-15 EuroLeague team of Berlin with famed Head Coach Sasa Obradovic for several weeks of pre-season.
Marc’s energy in practice and his demeanor impressed the coaching staff and management and now he will wear the ALBA Berlin uniform for the 2015-16 season. That’s what I call turning an unknown present chance into a promising possibility and making the most of it. This Cinderella story of sorts speaks volumes about Marc’s determination, work ethic and an overall trust in being patient.
Each season, these are this kind of success stories that keep me focused on working hard daily for my clients, regardless if they are already signed or a remaining free agent. Because you just never know when an opportunity will present itself for our guys still looking for work.
Until then, they only thing we can do is be patient.