Book Reviews Headline Sports Business

Book Review: Go Pro Like A Pro

Since reviewing his book, Money Players, on August 15, 2007, I have become very good friends with Marc Isenberg.  I have invited him to speak multiple times at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, engaged in great sports business discussions with him, and have been able to count on him for advice whenever it is needed.

Earlier today, Isenberg provided a guest contribution titled, DIYRS: Do It Yourself Rookie Symposium.  Within that post, Isenberg offers a booklet, free of charge, to any NFL draftee, undrafted free agent, and current NFL player.  That booklet is called Go Pro Like a Pro, and is a much shorter read than Money Players.  In fact, it is a small booklet that has been created for athletes, their parents, and others who have the privilege to influence, advise, and work on athletes’ behalf.  The goal is that those who read it will empower themselves and others to maximize their earnings and sustain their wealth.

I have to give props to Isenberg for printing one of my favorite quotes before his initial message to the reader.  “I am not a businessman/I am a business, man” – Jay-Z.

Beyond the great quotes, Go Pro Like a Pro might be an even better for athletes than Money Players, not only because of it being a shorter read and less time consuming for someone who already has very little free time to spend, but also because it really fleshes out somewhat complex topics into easy-to-understand blurbs.  It can be carried around as a reference by amateur and professional athletes – and it should be.

One of the main points of the brochure is to explain the laws and NCAA rules regulating their relationships with others and the consequences of not knowing or adhering to those laws/rules.  Isenberg and Nece also make sure to speak of the wide array of benefits a competent and ethical agent may provide, especially since athletes are often dealing with general managers, coaches, and other team executives who have a tremendous edge in experience over the athletes they negotiate with and draft.  But they really stress that it is in athletes’ best interests to stay away from agents who are trying to “buy” their clients.

Chapter 4 is titled, “Stay in school or go pro” – something I have written extensively about in the past.  It is probably the toughest decision a talented amateur athlete has to make in the early part of his life.  As Marc correctly points out, the money offered should be considered only after the athlete decides whether he is mentally and physically ready for the rigors of a professional obligation.  And something I tell guys I am advising is that college coaches are great to go to for advice on the field/court, but when it comes to a decision to leave early, their advice will undoubtedly be biased.

Then there is Chapter 6 – “Select the right agent & management team.”  It’s all about an athlete associating himself with good people and distancing himself from those who might cause harm.  Isenberg attempts to assist the reader in this process.  Here are some things Isenberg points out as services that a good agent/lawyer should provide:

  • Negotiating contracts
  • Help with preparation for the draft
  • Protection from making rookie mistakes
  • Education regarding collective bargaining issues
  • Information and feedback
  • Help maximize financial opportunities, including endorsements
  • References to other professionals, including business managers and financial advisors

Overall, I am quite impressed with the brevity and conciseness of the booklet.  It will be a good thing if this gets into the hands of amateur and professional athletes.

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.