By: Adam White, @FOSAdam
Front Office Sports is proud to have sat down with Zachary Charles, CEO of 3PT Sports Management a global, full service agency providing services to professional basketball players. Zachary is a NBPA as well as a FIBA certified agent and, at 25, is one of the up and coming agents in basketball. Being blessed with the opportunity to start his own agency at such a young age, he prides himself with providing the best possible service for their 3pts: Contract Negotiation, Marketing and Endorsements, and Life Planning. He was gracious enough to offer up his story on his rapid ascension, his tips for succeeding in the agency world and how finding a niche is so important.
You’ve been working in sports in some capacity for over six years now and during this time you have started your own agency. What has this journey been like for you thus far?
It has been an interesting one. It is extremely difficult to break in. I was lucky enough to be given an opportunity to work with an agency in Houston, 610 Sports Management. They really threw me into the fire and I had to learn the business on the fly. It was very helpful for me. Even with experience, it is still difficult to break in. Since it’s such a cutthroat industry, I decided to venture out on my own and create my own agency. We started at zero and are now at six signed clients with potentially two more coming. It has been a wild ride, but when you run your own show you have to be on top of everything.
I have an interesting approach with the clients I have signed, and many agents think I’m crazy. Guys like Renardo Sidney and David Harrison deserve second chances and I’m hoping we can get them those second chances.
Being an agent is grueling work and, at times, very cutthroat. What made you want to be an agent and how did you know you could succeed?
I love sports especially basketball. Like everyone else, I wanted to play professionally. I realized, early on, that my skill set wasn't going to garner me any playing time in the NBA. When I realized that, I knew I wanted to work in basketball and the agency business was always so intriguing to me. It is an extremely difficult world where the big time players bully the small time ones. Being a one-man show without the name recognition and clients that these other organizations have makes it difficult but so are other jobs.
You represent players such as Renaldo Sidney and Jerome Harris. Both of who are fighting to make a comeback. What made them intriguing to represent and how has the process of finding a team for them been?
A year ago I was at a standstill with my career. I was asking myself do I really want to do this, should I keep going? Jerome Harris came across my email and I took a look at him. He was former stand out point guard who committed to UCLA but, because of academics, wasn’t able to compete. The talent was there, but I knew it was going to be a challenge. I connected with Renardo Sidney through Jerome. Starting an agency at 24 representing people like Renardo Sidney and Jerome Harris was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Not only did it get the agency off the ground, it also attracted more press. In the end though, it is not about us, it’s about getting these guys who deserve a shot, a second chance.
Working with these guys made me fall in love with the agency world all over again. Being in this position allows me to not only support my family, but help my clients support theirs.
What is your advice for students looking to break into the field of agency related work?
Don’t give up. It’s really easy to just give up in this business. Find a mentor who can help you in tough times. You don’t have to find someone to do things for you, find someone who will encourage you when you’re done. Don’t forget you’re holding other peoples lives in your hand. If you slack, you are slacking them.
Don’t let this business knock you down. Keep fighting. Someone will say yes eventually.
Many young students see being an agent as just “hanging out” with the players. Can you touch on everything that you do for your client and speak on why students need to realize early on that they won’t just be “hanging out” with the players?
That’s a very true misconception. Yeah, of course we hang out with them, but we don’t live their lives with them its not as flashy as people think. We are doing everything behind the scenes such as calling teams, sending them materials, putting packages together, and dealing with the emotion from the teams saying your client isn’t good enough. In my case, I’m constantly on the phone with D-League teams trying to find out when their tryouts are, or I’m talking to NBA teams trying to get a workout for my clients. Its expensive, it is a lot of headaches, but, in the end, it is worth it.
I try to put a lot of heart into everything and truly build a family atmosphere within our agency.
You have to put yourself out there in a way that is different. You have to carve out a niche for yourself.
For Zachary, his clients such as Renardo Sidney, Jerome Harris and Blake Nash have reinvigorated his love for representing athletes. Getting all of these men a second chance is a priority for Zach and he looks forward to the challenge it presents day in and day out. He is looking forward to the day when all of his clients are placed on a team and 3PT Sports Management becomes one of the up and coming agencies in the business.