Sports Management Careers- NBA Agent

So you want to become an NBA sports agent? Sure, why not, it sounds easy.

After all, you get to mingle with famous NBA sports celebrities, attend tons of NBA games, make a lot of money, and all you have to do is negotiate contracts with professional NBA team owners.


Not so fast. It is a lot harder then you think and will take a lot of work with long hours to become a successful NBA Agent.

Sure, NBA agents are responsible for contract negotiations between their clients and their teams but in addition they also handle many other aspects for their client’s including:

  • Managing Investments
  • Endorsements
  • Photo Ads
  • Radio Appearances
  • Autograph Signings
  • Filing The Athlete’s Taxes Every Year
  • Public Appearances

Even though the glitz and glamour of being personally involved with NBA athletes sounds like it would be an exciting career, NBA agents work long hours, have to be available 24 hours a day, and are on the road living out of hotels a majority of the time.


In order to become an NBA agent there are many skills required in order to be successful.

In addition to negotiating skills, some of the skills you need to become successful as an NBA agent include:

  • Superior Networking Skills
  • An Excellent Education
  • Communication Skills
  • Strong Sales Skills
  • A Firm Mathematics Background
  • A Lot Of Patience
  • Manage Interpersonal Relationships

In addition, you will need to satisfy the needs of not just your clients but also:

  • His Team
  • His Sponsors
  • Team Owners
  • Managers And Coaches

With the correct skills and preparation along with a lot of perseverance and extreme loyalty, with a strong base of clients an NBA agent can earn more than $1 million annually and become famous.


The NBA requires at least a four-year college degree to represent an athlete in the NBA and while a four year college degree is required, in order to be successful you should major in one of the following studies.

  • Sports Management
  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Communications
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Business Law
  • Public Relations
  • Recreation Management

Sports Management programs include sports ethics classes, as well as other sports-related classes.

Once you have earned your degree, the next step would be to intern at an established sports management firm. Shadowing an established sports agent and learning through experience is an excellent way to learn the business.


Besides a four-year degree, if you are serious about becoming an NBA agent, you must be certified by the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA).

Any person attempting to negotiate a Player Contract with an NBA team on behalf of a player must be certified by the NBPA.

In order to be certified, the person must follow the regulations and meet certain qualifications including proof of a detailed and comprehensive understanding of all of the league’s policies, as well as a membership fee and professional liability insurance.

In addition, the Director of Agent Regulation conducts background investigations on all applicants to ensure they meet the qualifications to become NBPA certified agents so if you have a criminal record, a bad financial or employment history, your application will be most likely be refused.

While it may not be a requirement to become certified, it is very important to secure liability insurance as soon as possible in order to keep you protected in the instance that you are involved in a lawsuit with a player or team.

The Agent Regulation Department maintains and coordinates files for all:

  • Agent Applications
  • Standard Player Agent Contracts
  • Fee Disclosure Forms
  • Termination
  • Other Correspondence Between The Players And Their Agents

The Agent Regulation Department also maintains a relationship with the NCAA enforcement department to ensure NBPA certified agents are complying with student-athlete regulations.


In order to submit an application to the NBA and the NBPA for certification as an agent you will need to submit a copy of the highest diploma received or an official copy of your college transcripts along with your application.

A non-refundable fee of $100 in addition to the required annual fee in the amount of $1,500 should be included with your application submission.

Annual dues are required to be paid on or before July 1.

If you want to become a certified NBA Player Agent you should first review the entire contents of this link, NBPA Regulations, and then file a complete application with the NBPA office.

A copy of the application is available here: NBA Agent certification form


As rewarding as it may sound, less than 5% of NBA agents earn over $100,000 a year and it usually takes several years as an agent to build up the clientele and reputation to earn enough money to live on.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual salary for a sports agent is about $50,000.

NBA players who earn the league minimum salary are only allowed to pay their agents a maximum of $2,000. Players who earn more than the league’s minimum salary are allowed to pay an agent 4% of the total value of their contract.

However, for player endorsements, an NBA sports agent’s commission usually varies between 4 and 10 percent of the athlete’s total income. However, the figure can vary depending on what was negotiated between you and your client.

Being an NBA sports agent is highly competitive, and there are no promises that you will succeed. Around 50% of all agents who are certified by the NBA do not have a single client.

The NBA has more agents than players, so it is ferociously competitive.

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