Nicole Lynn is a sports agent with Young Money APAA Sports and practicing attorney. Lynn is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelors Degree in Business Management and Doctor of Law (J.D.) with honors. She has worked on Wall Street as a Financial Analyst and obtained both her Series 7 and Series 63 certifications through FINRA. Lynn is the first female sports agent to join Young Money Sports and represents NFL players, professional softball players, and a professional ballerina, while practicing law at an international law firm.
D’Bria Bradshaw: When did you first decide you wanted to work in sports? What was your initial motivation?
Nicole Lynn: I knew I wanted to work with athletes, it wasn’t the game that was exciting to me it was the players. While in college I was close to a lot of athletes, and observed a lot of rags to riches to rags stories. I knew I wanted to do something to help them. Initially I wanted to be a financial advisor, I worked in New York City on Wall Street, while working I figured out that a financial advisor wasn’t necessarily the day to day person with the athlete—it was actually the agent—, and 2 weeks into the job I knew that wasn’t what I wanted, and applied to law school.
DB: What’s it like being a younger woman in a male-dominated industry?
NL: It’s very difficult. When people first see you their first thought is that you’re the marketing representative, second thought is that you’re the girlfriend, and you’re always reminding people you require a seat at the table. It is exciting to be a trailblazer for other women but you do deal with things that your male-counterparts don’t have to worry about including clothing and how I’ll be perceived in front of wives and girlfriends.
DB: You recently attended the NFL Combine, please describe what that week is like for agents.
NL: It is an extremely busy time. If you have a player at combine, you are prepping your player, taking them to dinner, going to different suites. If you are doing deals for veterans players, you are talking to teams getting a pull for the market. This is a big time to network because it is the one time in the year to meet decision makers from all teams.
DB: What are three absolute necessary skills to be an agent and why?
NL: 1) Be a good salesperson, be able to sell, sell yourself to player as the best agent for them and sell your player to teams. 2) Understand the CBA, this job is about more than just understanding football. 3) Have a true passion to want to help players, its about wanting to help a player and having a genuine concern for them, not just about wanting to be in sports.
DB: What advice would you give aspiring sports business professionals who want to work in the sports agency industry and specifically, representing football and softball players?
NL: 1) Make sure being a sports agent is what you’re actually wanting to do, there are a million other jobs in sports that have less risk, understand the job description. 2) Find some way into sports to put something on your resume, I worked at the NFLPA after I graduated law school to get some experience.
DB: How has your legal background helped you during your career?
NL: It’s helpful for understanding the CBA and negotiating it also helps with understanding my player’s non profit work and otheroff the field issues, such as family law, areas that many players deal with during their career.
DB: Where do you see yourself and the industry heading in the next 5 years?
NL: I see myself representing top players, and negotiating some of the top deals in the league. I would like for it to be common to see more women at the negotiating table, more diversity in agents and head coaches and general managers (race, gender, sexuality).