Michael Raymond is a second-year law student at the University of Miami School of Law and the founder of Raymond Representation, an athlete management and marketing company. After graduating from UCF and studying economics and sports business management, Raymond enrolled at Miami Law with plans of becoming an NBA agent. Raymond was the student President of UCF’s Sports Business club “The Minor That’s Major” where his interests in becoming an agent grew. During this past summer, Raymond launched his own athlete management company, Raymond Representation. You can read the transcript of his interview with SportsAgentBlog below:
Josh Goldberg: Why did you start Raymond Representation?
Raymond: Once COVID started, like a lot of law students, I was planning on interning for an agency but then everything kind of got shut down. Over the months during COVID, I was thinking I always wanted to start an athlete management company. My ultimate goal is to be an agent. So why not just start now? A lot of people say you have to be done with law school, that you have to work under an agent and so on. But I’ve already worked under two agents and a business manager and had really good mentors. I feel like I’ve learned a lot and I just felt like why not start now and get the ball rolling. It’s been the best blessing in disguise. COVID has really shifted my mindset. I thought why not use my professional network I’ve been building for 5-6 years throughout UCF and Miami to help these athletes now while I can.
JG: What has been the biggest challenge you have faced and hurdle you have overcome thus far?
Raymond: I’ve only been doing this for about two months now so I’m pretty new at this. One of the biggest challenges for me personally has been managing all of my law school tasks. I’m someone that grinds 24/7 and I’ve been interning for a law firm and I’m also involved with the entertainment and sports law society at Miami, while also being in my second year of law school. At the same time, I’m studying for the NBA agent exam while running Raymond Representation. I’m doing a ton of different things at the same time, but I love it and honestly it motivates me every single day. I love the grind more than anybody. I love having that mindset of being under pressure all the time and that’s where I see myself the most successful.
JG: Who are some of your clients?
Raymond: I started with two golfers, Keaton Veillette and David Rabil. I met Keaton through working with Orin Mayers who is Ray Allen and Ja Morant’s business manager. Orin has been a great mentor to me and has always looked out for me in the city of Orlando. I met Keaton and he basically wanted someone to help him with sponsors and brand partnerships and to help keep him on track and motivated. I also met David similarly through another friend. On the basketball side, I’m working with Justin Gray and John Jean and I work a little bit with Aubrey Dawkins on the marketing side as well. Through personal relationships I met a lot of these guys. I’m also working with an e-sports team, Sixth Gear. Sixth Gear was started by two of my fraternity brothers at UCF and I’ve been following them for the past year and they’ve been winning a bunch of tournaments. So, I was very interested in joining the team on the business side. I see e-sports being very successful in the future. We’ve worked with Hyperice on social media content for their e-sports package and have also worked with KontrolFreak. The team is working towards being pro. We just signed four more teams for Counterstrike, Rainbow Six Seige, and another Call of Duty team in Brazil. So, we’re going to continue to push and hopefully one day be pro.
JG: How do you differentiate yourself from the competition in an ultra-competitive industry?
Raymond: One of the most important things is that you know exactly what you are going to get with me. The first thing is communication. Players tell me they have terrible relationships with their agents. Obviously, there’s a ton of very good agents and I keep them in my circle and respect them. But there’s certain agents that are not like me. I’ll get on a Facetime at any point during the day. Communication will always be my number one thing. I will workout with my clients, I will talk to them about life problems, any issues. I’m basically learning and growing with my clients as they expand and grow with me. One of the other ways I’m different is that I focus on building mutual long-lasting relationship. You’re not getting pipe dreams with me. [My clients] have the opportunity to work with someone that’s growing and has really big dreams just like they do. My clients are my number one priority at all times. They can Facetime me at any time and any of my clients will say that I answer the phone no matter what. I’ll basically do anything it takes to be successful not only as a lawyer, but as an agent and business manager. I think my client’s see my network and know who I’m connected with and they know that’s for a reason. And it’s because I’m all about building meaningful relationships. That’s all I really care about; the money can mean nothing to me.
JG: What are your future plans with Raymond Representation?
Raymond: My short-term goal is to take the NBPA agent exam and hopefully get certified on the first try. Then the next step is to get my law degree in the next year or two. Really my plan is to keep growing Raymond Representation and building my personal brand. One thing I tell athletes all the time is that it’s way bigger than the sport itself. Building your personal brand and having an audience is one of the most important things you can do now in this social media age. So just continuing to build the Raymond Representation brand and my personal brand so athletes can see all around the world what I stand for and what I mean. The biggest step would be to sign a first-round pick whether its basketball, football or a PGA Tour golfer. Just getting a client I can take the next step with and that will really expand Raymond Representation to what I know it can be in the future.
JG: What is some advice you have for other aspiring agents out there?
Raymond: Be ready to learn on the go. For me, being super young and in law school, it’s all about learning on the go. Having really good mentors is one of the things that made me ready to step up and do this on my own. I’ve had a ton of not only lawyer mentors but agent mentors, business manager mentors, and even player mentors that have told me personal information about player’s lives and how the NBA game works. Be very personable and sociable. Contract negotiations are not the most important thing. Every agent is going to be mostly experienced enough to do a rookie contract. It’s one of the simpler things so really being personable and sociable and having players that believe in you and know that you’re there and have their best interest at all times. Relationships are the most important thing. So having clients know that you’re there all the time and you’re ready to grow and learn with them throughout their life and their families and help them in any way possible. I’d also add to wake up every day and be curious. Being curious to grow business, make money, and learn new business is so important.
You can follow Michael Raymond on Instagram @Raymond_Representation and Twitter @Raymond_Rep. His website is raymondrep.com.