Who is there to help advance my career?
Key Learnings
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Take the decision to work with an agent very seriously because you are deciding to let someone act on your behalf.
Ensure your agent has (a) certification from FIBA to work within International Basketball as an agent; (b) a solid understanding of Basketball and the professional market; and (c) a reputation for honesty, reliability and professionalism.
Consider using different representatives (agent, financial advisor, and lawyer) for different parts of your personal and professional affairs.
Don’t sign any documents that you have not read or do not understand.
Remember that the reputation you build at the early stages of your career will impact how marketable you are when you are playing at higher levels.
Build good relationships with your sponsors to increase the chances of renewing your contract.
Educate yourself on basic technical financial language so you can adequately evaluate your options when meeting with potential advisors.

Choosing an agent

While an agent can help take your mind off the administrative and logistical details of life off-the-court, you don’t want to surrender all control to your agent. Remember, you are in charge of your career and you are ultimately responsible for overseeing your “business” as an athlete.

Selecting an agent will depend on your needs as an athlete and your personal preferences for the player-agent relationship. However, there are some universal details that any athlete should require of his or her agent.

An agent must have:

  • Certification from FIBA to work within International Basketball as an agent: There is a formal application and testing process for all agents in FIBA. Information about the certification process can be found here. A list of all certified FIBA agents can be found here.
  • A solid understanding of Basketball and the professional market: It’s important that your agent can adequately measure your worth, know “who’s who” when pursuing new job opportunities for you and understands the demands of your schedule (practice, training, travel, etc.).
  • A reputation for honesty, reliability and professionalism: Many sports organisations and countries do not require any official credential, license or minimum level of education to work as a sports agent. FIBA’s agent certification process screens agents for any criminal background or adverse litigation. However, it is still a good idea to ask your teammates, coaches and Basketball veterans for their opinion about a prospective agent.

To make sure your agent has these must haves, you can:

  • Consult your national federation, your coach, teammates and other Basketball professionals to see what other people you trust think of particular agents.
  • Conduct an internet search and/or background check on a prospective agent and confirm with FIBA to see if any legal action has been taken against him or her by sending an email to: agents@fiba.com.
  • Ask prospective agents to supply you with proof of educational degrees, credentials or licenses that may be relevant to the business and legal aspects of contract negotiation, athlete management, etc.

Large vs. small agencies

Additional points to consider include whether you want your agent to be part of a large agency, or if you prefer a more personal, one-on-one approach from a small agency. There are pros and cons for each option.

Pros and cons of working with a large agency:

  • Pro: extensive network of contacts that can promote potential opportunities with various teams, leagues and potential sponsors
  • Pro: additional in-house services, including legal representation, financial management, travel assistance and estate planning
  • Con: large agencies may charge larger representation fees
  • Con: agents may have other high-profile clients competing for their time

Pros and cons of working with an individual agent or smaller agency:

  • Pro: your agent will be able to offer more personalised representation and devote more time to you
  • Pro: your agent will get to know you more intimately, thereby creating more trust in the player-agent relationship
  • Con: lesser-known agents may lack the experience and proven performance needed to navigate the Basketball world at the highest levels
  • Con:  depending on the number of clients, an agent from a small agency might still be limited in his or her time for you

Use more than one representative

We encourage you to consider using different representatives for different parts of your personal and professional affairs. Placing complete trust and authority in one person to handle all your matters may sound convenient. However, if something were to go wrong or the trust was breached between you and your agent, it would be better if that breach only affected one aspect of your career instead of all aspects of your career.

Therefore, consider using a separate lawyer to plan your estate and a separate financial advisor to manage your money and investments (see further below: Financial advisor).