06 May 2011
- Written by Carlee McCullough
(Sports agent Raymond Brothers, Esq. is the founder of IAM Sports and Entertainment Agency, one of the top ten sports agencies in the nation. His clients included Memphis Grizzlies star Zach Randolph)
Carlee McCullough, Esq.: Have you noticed any new trends in the sports representation industry?
Raymond Brothers, Esq.: There’s a new collective bargaining agreement that is about to be negotiated. They are trying to change the structure of salaries and revenue sharing. Most of these owners are looking at it more like a business. What can they get out of it? But (Grizzlies’ owner Michael) Heisley…is a different guy. He’s a really good guy.
I think the next new trend is new media. Historically, you’d do an interview on ESPN and tell your side of the story and that’s it. But now, with Twitter, YouTube, and email, you can put out your own statement. Athletes have their own platform to promote themselves and to say how they really feel. The trend from a marketing perspective, nationally and internationally, is that athletes can really start to promote themselves and what they’re doing, which serves as a springboard for other business opportunities after their sports career.
C.M.: Few athletes have been as successful as Magic Johnson when it comes to making the transformation from athlete to businessman. How important is it for players to view themselves as a business and have all the necessary professionals on their management team?
Athletes are walking corporations. As soon as they go to a particular sport they need to identify professionals that can set them up. Guys are so happy to be in the NBA that they think the money is like a faucet and will run forever. But it’s not like that. This thing could end twelve months from the date you are drafted. It’s that fast.
So, as soon as guys can realize immediately this is a business they can maximize everything from a business perspective in order to prepare for the second, third, and fourth season of life. When I worked for Michael Ovitz he was actually representing Magic Johnson. Michael Ovitz was part of that team that helped Magic get into the business with Starbucks and Fridays. I did the same thing with Caron Butler.
C.M.: Our young people frequently strive to be the best on the court or field. How do we expand their mindset toward thinking about the business side of sports, which is a multi-billion dollar industry?
R.B.: Athletes need to understand that this career is temporary. They can only be an athlete for 15 years, maybe, if they’re lucky. Athleticism starts to fade away. I couldn’t do the same stuff I use to do when I was 16 that I use to do at 15. But what continues to grow is the mind. You can become smarter. You can become an expert at certain things. If you want to compete long term, then you need to grow your mind.
C.M.: I understand that you were a producer on the film “Hurricane Season” starring Forest Whitaker. Tell us about that experience.
R.B.: My experience was fantastic. Forest Whitaker is by far one of the best human beings I’ve ever met. He treats everybody from the guy at the bus stop to the head of a studio the exact same way.
C.M.: Tell us about the film “Hurricane Season.”
R.B.: I wanted to bring a positive story to life. Some people think we’re always looking for a hand out or we want something for nothing. This is a very unique story about a bunch of kids after Hurricane Katrina that picked themselves up by their own boot straps even though they lived in FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Association) trailers, some without running water. They made the decision they were not only going to survive but were going to thrive. They even won the state championship together. I thought the spirit of our community needed to be spotlighted.
(For more information about IAM Sports and Entertainment Agency visit http://iamsports-ent.com/.)