Black Agents Aim to Change the Face of Professional Sports
Black professional athletes make up the majority of players in the NBA and NFL. However, the player’s finances and negotiations are mostly
handled by individuals or firms that are not black. Kevin Connor and Robert Brown are seeking to change the face of professional sports with their company, Universal Sports & Entertainment. Connor and Brown discuss the difficulties of breaking barriers and the benefits of becoming industry leaders. –amir shaw
Why did you guys decide to start Universal Sports & Entertainment?
Connor: Robert and I were collegiate teammates at Alabama State University in the 90’s. After college, a lot of our friend got an opportunity to go to the NFL. We still had long lasting relationships with those guys and we would do certain things for them that was an agent’s job. One of the guys told me, ‘Kevin I have an agent but I really don’t have a genuine relationship with him.’ And from that profound conversation, the company was started.
Why is it important for more blacks to become sports agents?
Connor: It’s important to increase that number because the majority of players who participate in professional sports are African American.
It’s important for African American players to connect with their agent in a genuine way. Often times in our community, one of our
points in conversation are that our firm has the capability and access to unlimited resources to represent any player. We’re good at what we
do, we’re knowledgeable at what we do, we just happen to be black.
How are you guys helping players adjust to the changes of becoming a
Connor: When you have a young man leaving the dorm room from Tallahassee and, all of sudden, he’s a multi-millionaire, it’s important that we engage quality people around this young man. These young men are trusting our firm to put them in contact with the right people. We don’t manage money, but we do have credible financial advisors who are on a referral list who we’ve utilized before. The key is educating these young men as they learn step by step that they are a business. We force our guys to at least know some type of working knowledge about who works for them. We screen these people hard and we hold these people accountable for the players.
How will your company inspire other black kids to think more about the
business of sports?
Brown: It helps by raising the profile and the awareness of sports agencies ran by blacks. It will also encourage them to get a true understanding of the intricacies of the business. But there’s a grind before the glory. People see our relationships with clients and don’t necessarily see what goes on behind the scenes. It takes a lot to run a successful company.