Agent Spotlights NBA Players

Agent Spotlight: Mark Stevens Part II

Is he going to be a happy King?

A quick look at our recent hits chart shows a heavy increase in the daily exposure of this site. A lot of the new traffic is coming from referrals on search engines to the search query of “Mark Stevens.” Back on January 3rd, I decided to take a look at Basketball Agent Mark Stevens and left it up for discussion on whether he was handling the Ron Artest situation correctly or not.

Now that the Ron Artest saga seems to be taking a break (until Artest realizes that he’s a Sacramento King…which could take months), let’s take a final look on what Mark Stevens did to help Ron Artest, if he did anything to make the sitution worse, and what you should have done as Ron Artest’s agent.

Can we really blame the fact that the deal almost did not go through all on Mark Stevens? Jim Gray is reported as saying, “The agent wouldn’t even let Ron Artest talk to the owners, the general manager, or the coach. So if you thought that Drew Rosenhaus was a handful, say hello to Mark Stevens.” But, aren’t agents employed to handle the negotiations and let the players focus on fine tuning their game? Knowing your client is probably the most important part about being an Agent. If that is the case, and you know the in-and-out of Ron Artest, is it such a problem that you would not let him talk to the owners, general manager, and coach in order to protect the sanctity of any deal from being corrupted by one of Ron Artest’s mood swings?

Personally, I feel that Sports Agents are not being very glorified by the media currently, and because of Drew Rosenhaus, professionals in the business are being scrutinized heavily. What does the public truly know about Mark Stevens and the way he handles his business anyway? All we know is that he is an Agent, Drew Rosenhaus is an agent, they both represent big-name players that are constantly in the media, etc. It is easy for an ordinary individual (and the media) to draw comparisons between the two, but I am inclined to do otherwise.

The main problem in the whole Indiana-Sacramento-Ron Artest-Mark Stevens line of communication was the fact that Ron Artest and his Agent that he pays to negotiate for him, were not on the same page. Gavin Maloof, part-owner of the Sacramento Kings even said, “Obviously, I guess they weren’t on the same page.” In any type of negotiation, it is vital that a client’s Agent knows the client’s wish-list and that the client defends his agent throughout the negotiation. Apparently, in this case, there was a lack of correctness on both fronts.

I have one final request for all current and future Agents. PLEASE, do not go to the media unless you are sure it will be beneficial. Obviously, the media was all over Artest, the Kings, the Pacers, and Mark Stevens to try to squeeze out any info possible. But if there is any uncertainty within any camp in a negotiation, solve the problem internally before the public has a chance to scrutinize your ability to do your job.

[tags], , , , , , Kings, Maloof, Rosenhaus[/tags]

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

4 replies on “Agent Spotlight: Mark Stevens Part II”

Your post leads me to wonder, is there anything equivalent, in the agency profession, to the bar associations that monitor and discipline attorneys in the legal profession?

I would say that the individual players’ unions come the closest to regulating Sports Agents in the same manner that bar associations regulate attorney actions.

Unions are able to discontinue an agent’s ability to represent players in that sport, certify the agents with clients in that league, and form their own quality standards that must be upheld by all agents.

[…] In 2003, Sports Agent David Dunn was suspended by the NFLPA for two years for trying to steal clients from his former partner, Leigh Steinberg. The NFLPA’s power did not seem very strong in this case (which runs contrary to my comment in this post about the power of player unions). By filing for personal chapter 11 bankruptcy, the 2 year suspension had no effect at the time. It seems that this claim will not last for long, though. […]

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