Leadership Portfolio Interview
The person that I interviewed was Lee Melchionni. I became very interested in interviewing Mr. Melchionni when I read that he was a sports agent in an article under the sports agent blog. I was reading the article on B.J. Armstrong, a former basketball player who became an agent. I was excited to read about Lee Melchionni because he came from the area that I live in and knew people that I knew. Mr. Melchionni played basketball for Duke University, a very recognizable division one school. Mr. Melchionni works at Wasserman Media group in Los Angeles, California. The Wasserman media group is run by Art Tellem whose company represents 10 NBA players. The Wasserman Media Group also represents other sports like baseball, BMX, Broadcasting, football/soccer, golf, rugby, snowboard, surf, and women sports. Wasserman Media Group played a major role in the NBA’s association with the T-mobile.
I was able to get in touch with Mr. Melchionni through facebook. I asked Mr. Melchionni for a friend request and then sent him an email. In the email, I introduced myself as a former college basketball player that was interested in becoming a sports agent. I also told him that I was currently teaching basketball with Jay Jameson at Total Body Fitness. I was very excited about getting the opportunity to make a major contact like Lee Melchionni. I asked Mr. Melchionni seven different questions like why he wanted to become a sports agent and if it was an advantage being a former basketball player. I was surprised by Mr. Melchionni response to my question. He told me that he had no intention of becoming a sports agent. His eyes were opened up when Arn Tellem came to Duke his senior year. Mr. Melchionni had dinner with him and Bob Myers while they were at Duke. Mr. Tellem was there to recruit his teammates Shelden Williams and JJ Redick. Mr. Melchionni got a job playing basketball in Italy through a European Agent. He was given an opportunity to work with the Wasserman Media Group when Mr. Tellem called him and offered him an opportunity to work with his agency. Mr. Melchionni said he knew his future was in business and not in basketball. I played division three basketball and I knew that my future was in the business side of basketball and not on the basketball court. I was like Mr. Melchionni and did not plan on becoming a sports agent. I had a year and a half of sales experience and I realized that I was a good salesman. I was inspired to become a sports agent when my friend Jason Hall and Corey Rich asked me if I could represent them when they got to the professional level of basketball. This is what inspired me to want be a sports agent.
I remember learning in business storytelling and brand development the law of contraction. The next question that I asked Mr. Melchionni was if he was going to be a sports agent for just basketball players or any sport. His response was that he just works on the basketball side of the company. Mr. Melchionni told me that he wants to expand in the sports representation as he grows and learn. I like the law of contraction in which I would focus on one sport, which is basketball. The reason that I feel the most comfortable working with basketball players is because I am very knowledgeable about the game of basketball and I have a passion for the game. I believe I can develop my clients’ into better basketball players and helping my clients’ with whatever they need. The next question that I asked him was their any specific credentials in becoming a sports agent. He told me that there are no real credentials to become a certified NBA player agent. Mr. Melchionni told me that you have to pay your dues every year and cannot be a felon. He told me the exact requirements are on the NBPA website. I was glad to hear that from Mr. Melchionni because I want to run my own basketball business along with representing professional basketball players. I am getting practice right now by booking basketball camps for my friend Corey Rich to speak.
The next thing I wanted to know from Mr. Melchionni was what part of the job did you find most satisfying and most challenging. He told me that it is rewarding to watch a client succeed on and off the court as a result of the guidance that you provide them as a sports agent. This is the part of the job that enticed me because I enjoy helping people that want to be successful. Mr. Melchionni explained to me that you want to ensure that your client only has to worry about performing on the basketball court. He told me the most challenging part of the job is being on call essentially 24/7/365 days a year but it beats a real job. That is what makes me very interested in representing basketball players because I want to have a job that is spontaneous and that I thoroughly enjoy.
Then I asked Mr. Melchionni the most important question about trying to break into the field. He told me that the sports agent business is very hard to break into. I understood that this was the case when I worked on getting an interview with Andre Buck. Mr. Buck is a local sports agent in the area that I live in. Mr. Melchionni explained to me that players are the lifeblood of the business and in order to be a successful agent you must be able to sign and retain players. The best way to retain your clients’ is to do an excellent job representing your clients’ to where the client you represent is more than satisfied with the service that you provide them. Then you can get more clients’ by building a great reputation of satisfaction from your other clients.’ Mr. Melchionni’s advice to me was obtaining a graduate degree of some kind and ad value to a sports agency in any way possible. After proving your worth to the senior people in the company you might get a chance to start working with players and grow individually. His advice relates to the first law in the 48 laws of power, which is to never outshine the master. I learned that I must be humble and hard working to prove my worth to other senior people who have proven their worth. He advised me to be persistent, send my resume, call people, make connections and most importantly use people I know. I realized that if I want to be a successful sports agent bad enough that I can do it.
I can use my basketball background at Arcadia University to my advantage in landing an internship with a specific company. Mr. Melchionni told me that playing at Duke University was a great asset in landing a job at Wasserman Media Group. He told me the most important qualities in being a sports agent is having a great personality and being able to connect with other people. Mr. Melchionni’s advice goes along with Ken Lehner advice which an ability to sell your self to the company and then being able to sell your self to the clients.’ I believe that I have the enthusiasm and the energy and natural willingness to help people, which gives me an edge in becoming a great sports agent. However, I need to pay my dues like Mr. Melchionni explained to me. I am gaining good experience right now by making connections through facebook, linked in, twitter and blogger and obtaining my graduate degree. I am also learning the nuances of the basketball business by working with Jay Jameson basketball.