It was afresh appear that the Los Angeles Media Fund, a accounts and ball aggregation led by Jeffrey Soros and Simon Horsman, acquire teamed up with four sports agents to barrage Beyond Amateur Administration (BAM).
LAMF was launched by Soros, the nephew of billionaire philanthropist and political activist George Soros, and Horsman in 2014. The armamentarium produces affection films and scripted television, but afresh ventured into ad-lib television events.
The four agents abaft BAM are no strangers to the sports representation industry. The quartet includes: industry adept Mike Naiditch, above scout Daniel Poneman, above pro basketball amateur EJ Kusnyer, and above academy basketball amateur Jelani Floyd. In a collective account from the columnist absolution advertisement the agency’s formation, the agents said:
“Beyond is actuality to agitate the accepted of amateur management. We not alone appetite our audience to get the best deals but to acquire accomplishing lives during and afterwards their able-bodied careers. We animate our audience to be empowered by their windows of opportunity, capitalizing on their belvedere to bigger themselves and others. Calm with Jeffrey and Simon we will action beginning opportunities for our audience by leveraging LAMF’s absolute platforms and relationships in music, blur and television production.”
BAM is based in Los Angeles with offices in Chicago and Houston. Above-mentioned to aing forces, the four agents formed independently. BAM currently represents Detroit Pistons F Glenn Robinson III, Indiana Pacers F Ben Moore, Golden Accompaniment Warriors F Alfonzo McKinnie and assorted players beyond in accession to Denver Broncos WR Courtland Sutton for his off-field work. The aggregation at SAB was advantageous to conduct a Q&A with the agents abaft BAM and get a little added advice on their corresponding backgrounds. Check it out below:
SAB: What is the history of your relationships with your aggregation members?
Dan Poneman: Of all the bodies in the group, I apparently acquire the best absorbing accumulation of abettor stories, aback I array of brought the aggregation together. Afore I was an agent, I spent about 10 years alive as a academy scout. At age 14 I started the (now defunct) website IllinoisHSBasketball.com and in the early-social media era I became a actual affecting antecedent of advice for academy coaches who recruited in Illinois and Chicago. Aback I was 16 Sports Illustrated wrote a affection adventure about me alleged “The Boy Scout.” At 19 I was featured in the New York Times, and I acquired a lot of ballyhoo for my assignment beyond the basketball world. I able aerial academy at 17 and became a full-time advance rather than accessory academy at Northwestern University. During those years I helped hundreds of players with their academy recruitment, and aback abounding of them went on to comedy pro, they would ask me for advice acrimonious an agent. I got to apperceive agents from all of the firms, big and small, but the guy who I grew to assurance and account the best was Mike Naiditch. I met Jelani Floyd in 2006 during my aboriginal years active the site. In the able four years, Jelani and I acquire formed duke in duke and he has been circuitous in around every adventure I’ve had my easily in, so it was alone accustomed that he become a allotment of BAM. Jelani and I are both anti-agents. We don’t assay as agents. We are association leaders who are certified to accomplish abettor duties. Actuality an abettor for able athletes is a advantage that comes with abundant albatross to the communities that aloft those athletes. We’re both bodies who adulation and embrace that responsibility. Aback I absitively to become an abettor two years ago, the aboriginal alarm I fabricated was to EJ Kusnyer. I had been affiliated to EJ by a alternate friend, aback I was ytic for an abettor for a acquaintance of abundance who had aloof accelerating from academy at Hampton. Admitting he didn’t assurance with EJ, we backward in touch, because I saw EJ as a ascent brilliant in the abettor business and capital to accumulate him in my circle.
EJ Kusnyer: Dan was the aboriginal associate of the accumulation that I met. He was consistently attractive to advice players advancing out of Chicago and a alternate acquaintance alien the two of us as guys that should apperceive one another. I was absolutely afflicted with all the assignment he had done in the burghal of Chicago and it was agitative to accommodated accession that absolutely cared about the abundance of players, behindhand of their level. I met Mike aback I abounding TPG’s Sports Abettor Academy run by [former administrator of aloof and amateur personnel] Pete Philo. Mike was one of the featured speakers at the accident and I had the adventitious to collaborate with him over the advance of the three day event. Abettor Academy was one of the best affecting adventures of my abettor career because it absolutely opened my eyes to the business and what it absolutely took to be successful. One of the aboriginal bodies I talked to afterward Abettor Academy was Dan. Afterwards some aback and forth, he absitively he was activity to access into the abettor apple and we would assignment together. Dan alien me to Jelani who began alive with us while he able up law school. We spent best of those aboriginal canicule aggravating to amount out how we were activity to do things abnormally and how we could absolutely empower the athlete. We were consistently aggravating to prove ourselves and ample any holes that we may acquire had. It became axiomatic that one affair we were missing was experience. Alike admitting we were capable, we bare a drillmaster who had able things that we hadn’t. We all knew area to about-face to ample this abandoned – Mike Naiditch. Dan had accepted Mike for years. Jelani and him had cantankerous over from their years associated with Whitney Adolescent Aerial Academy and I knew him from Abettor School.
Jelani Floyd: I’ve accepted Daniel from his canicule of baronial Illinois aerial academy basketball players. He covered my charge to Brown University’s men’s basketball affairs in the abatement of 2007. We got aback in blow three years ago in my accommodation as Evan Turner’s business manager. Dan was allowance hundreds of bearding Chicago seniors acquisition places to abide their basketball career by application the action as a abettor to added bookish achievement. Evan and I noticed this from distant and we able out to see how Evan could advice abound the accident and accord financially. Aback growing afterpiece as a aftereffect of this we acquire continued noticed abounding of the aforementioned things impacting athletes and we consistently formed together. Dan alien me to Mike and EJ. He [Dan] is the administrator in bringing us all calm and he deserves acclaim for that. He is one of the best connectors in the world.
Mike Naiditch: I met Dan Poneman aback he was in aerial academy autograph aloof letters on players. He was consistently abnormally confident, except for already he alleged me because he acquainted like his activity was in danger, as agents were aggravating to use him to get to Anthony Davis. DP wasn’t allied because he didn’t appetite to abandon his friendship. EJ abounding the TPG Sports Abettor Academy aback I was one of the speakers. I bethink interviewing EJ and cerebration how funny it was that he was a amateur and abettor at the aforementioned time. I didn’t absolutely apperceive Jelani until the Glenn Robinson deal. But it turns out we aggregate the Whitney Adolescent affiliation (he as a student-athlete and I as an abettor coach).
SAB: At what point did you aboriginal anticipate BAM ability succeed?
DP: There has never been a agnosticism in my apperception that with this accumulating of talent, we would ultimately be actual successful. I feel like we’re the “Power Rangers,” we all were able and had the backbone individually, but now that we’ve accumulated we’re like a mega-ranger, unstoppable. We anniversary accompaniment anniversary added perfectly, like the 2004 Detroit Pistons. The pieces aloof fit. I additionally absolutely acquire in the ability of absent to do acceptable and accepting acceptable intentions. Aback you acquire a accumulation of bodies who are not alone talented, smart, apprenticed and motivated, but additionally absolutely appetite to do acceptable in the world, that’s a adamantine aggregate to beat. Possibly the best important aspect of this aggregation is our aggregate values. We absolutely are “agents for good.” Alike in an industry as aggressive and cut-throat as ours, I would like to anticipate that the acceptable guys will still consistently win in the end.
EK: As anon as we sat bottomward with LAMF and able we all capital the aforementioned things and that we were stronger calm than we were apart.
MN: I consistently anticipation Daniel would accomplish at something. But aback I alien Daniel to Ryan Blake above-mentioned to the NBA Combine, I knew. That chat addled me. It was hilarious. Two bodies with top akin wit activity at anniversary other. I ambition I had my buzz on record. That would be the day I told myself I had to assignment with DP. But aback we did Glenn Robinson’s accord with such seamless cooperation, it was bright that BAM was activity to work.
SAB: What was it like to acquire four agents on a deal?
DP: It was absolutely absolutely fun accepting four agents on one deal. Our applicant was entering free-agency and we capital to do the best job accessible for him. So rather than any one of us actuality like “I got this,” we teamed up and attacked it as a group. Anniversary actuality played their role and formed calm in harmony, and we concluded up allowance our applicant get a accord that he was absolutely blessed with. It was funny aback some teams had altered associates of their advanced appointment alarm altered associates of our team, acquisitive that they could acquisition a able in the bank or a bendable spot. But we ashore together, able our d plan, and it formed out abundant in the end for all parties.
EK: It was great. It showed that aback we put the amateur aboriginal and ample out area anniversary of us could advice the most, that the best after-effects prevail.
JF: It was accessible because we all consistently announced including Glenn. He was actively circuitous in the process.
MN: It was decidedly smooth. I afraid that we would absorb all our time fighting. It’s not like we don’t acquire egos. But it angry out added like four times the knowledge, effort, amusement and outcome.
SAB: Does the Soros name appear up in conversations with audience or recruits?
DP: Acutely the Soros name is adamantine to ignore. I mean, Donald Trump tweeted about it (negatively) the added day, so it’s not like bodies aren’t activity to ask about it. Bodies acutely adulation to allocution about George Soros, but our accomplice Jeffrey is a appealing absurd guy. It would be accessible for accession of his ability to sit aback and adore life, but he’s consistently award new bureau to use his access to accompany agitative account to life. With LAMF he’s financed and produced some outstanding films and TV shows, and now with BAM he’s allowance us inject activity and accession into the amateur representation business. One affair that I absolutely adore about Jeffrey is his altruistic work. He is the administrator of the Paul and Daisy Soros Foundation, a armamentarium that has paid for alum academy educations for hundreds of aboriginal bearing Americans. His ancestor and uncle fled Hungary during the Holocaust and went on to acquire immense success because of the opportunities America provided them. That their ancestors uses that abundance to actualize opportunities for added first-generation Americans to do the aforementioned is so inspiring, and I’m abundantly accustomed to be associated with accession like Jeffrey.
EK: It depends on the applicant and recruit. We’re absolutely advantageous to acquire ally like Jeffrey and Simon who acquire able so abundant in their careers so its a big affairs point to be able to say we’re advantageous to acquire a affiliation with them.
MN: The adolescent basketball army isn’t so accustomed with the Soros name. I aloof acquaint them to Google it. But from some of the peripherals (mainly reporters and money managers) I do get absolutely a bit of “Hey, it would be my dream to assignment with Soros.” Some are political activists and others appear up from the banking world. We absolutely had to baptize one of us to book all the admission resumes.
SAB: Aback the academic advertisement of BAM, how has your activity or business changed?
DP: Well, for starters, I’ve gotten a lot of new resumes in my inbox. I had no abstraction so abounding bodies in my arrangement capital to be sports agents. Aside from that, my activity hasn’t changed. I’ve consistently been adherent to my family, my accomplice Amelia, and to my work. Outside of that, I don’t acquire abounding (any) interests or hobbies. I accumulate my arch bottomward and focused on the tasks at hand, and things assume to assignment out aloof accomplished for me. It’s nice that bodies are aflame about what we’re doing, and assume to be absorbed in this venture, but we’re aloof focused on the work.
EK: It’s been exciting. We’ve accepted this was a absoluteness for months but it’s nice to acquire it out there publicly. Aloof off the announcement, I acquire had an access in bodies extensive out to ask added about what we’re doing.
MN: My circadian accepted is basically the same. I’m not in this for actual return. Bottomward the road, I’m assertive this affiliation will present opportunities that I could not acquire anticipated. Who knows, maybe I’ll get to do a documentary on adopting an autistic child.
SAB: Do you acquire any fun belief about your adventures so far with BAM?
DP: Honestly, every day with BAM is fun. I adulation actuality allotment of this team. I can’t anticipate of any specific belief that angle out, admitting it was absolutely a cruise aback I saw Donald Trump tweeting about George Soros. I can alone brainstorm what that feels like for Jeffrey. Activity can be a cruise sometimes, but you aloof gotta cycle with it.
MN: During July Summer League, at one of the Las Vegas hotels, Daniel told me a adventure of how he represented a rapper alone to be bent up in a apple that was hilariously alien to him.
SAB: Describe the company’s aboriginal successes and failures.
DP: I anticipate it’s too aboriginal to absolutely attending aback and assay what we’ve done so far. I anticipate one affair we’ve accurate to be abundant at so far is allowance put our guys in position – players who ability be apparent as NBA long-shots – to accomplish NBA rosters. Aloof this division we had Ben Moore and Alfonzo McKinnie angry for agenda spots with the Pacers and Warriors, respectively, and both exhausted out a scattering of others to accomplish the aperture day rosters. Both were undrafted and not domiciliary names, and aback you see guys like Jamal Crawford sitting at home and our guys authoritative teams, it’s air-conditioned to see. Accession air-conditioned aboriginal success has been Taren Sullivan. EJ begin out about Taren from an Instagram highlight video and active him out of a D2 academy (University of Findlay in Ohio). We knew Taren was an NBA talent, but advancing from a D2 we additionally knew it would be an acclivous battle. He initially got aught NBA pre-draft workouts and didn’t comedy in the Summer League. Teams heard “D2” and basically acquainted the blow out. But with some adroitness and perseverance, we were able to get Taren in advanced of NBA eyes at our pro day and at the G-League Invitational (which he led in scoring) and he concluded up actuality pursued by a scattering of NBA teams. He afresh active an exhibit-10 arrangement with the Sacramento Kings, and will comedy for their G-League associate this year. Maybe a baby win like that wouldn’t assume like a lot to one of the huge agencies, but seeing a guy like Taren get an befalling like that bureau aggregate to us. And Taren Sullivan will be in the NBA for a continued time, I affiance you.
EK: The aboriginal success has been the after-effects of Glenn’s chargeless abettor deal, seeing Ben and Al accomplish aperture night rosters and watching Taren Sullivan arise from a D2 amateur to signing an display 10 with the Kings.
MN: Aggregate is a affected risk. So I don’t absolutely acquire in failures. But I’m added than blessed to acquire the successes. Like GR3’s arrangement and amazing fit with the Pistons. Three of our adolescent guys active NBA deals and two stick! Alfonzo McKinnie’s adventure is so incredible. I don’t anticipate I’ve anytime been so appreciative of a client.
SAB: In bristles years, what will be BAM’s amplitude in the sports abettor world?
DP: This business is consistently changing, the role of an abettor is consistently evolving. Appropriate now, there are assertive titans of our industry, but as time goes on the old goes out and the new comes in. We are assertive to become the industry accepted eventually than later. Anniversary of our agents is talented, intelligent, thoughtful, innovative, aggressive and motivated. With this accumulation of guys and such absurd ally abetment us, I can’t see how we wouldn’t beat alike our own expectations. As far as what that allegedly looks like, I don’t know. As continued as we can attending aback in bristles years and say we did appropriate by our audience and did the best for them that we could have, that’s all that absolutely affairs to me.
EK: I anticipate we’ll be accepted as a accumulation that absolutely cares about the bodies they are alive with and a aggregation that aloft the bar in the industry as to how athletes are represented on and off their arena fields.
JF: In bristles years, BAM will be the bureau accepted to acquire pushed this amplitude advanced for the advancement of all athletes. We abide to empower our athletes.
MN: I’m abiding we will acceleration in the ranks, maybe appropriate to the top. But added than anything, I accomplishment that the aftereffect of our assignment is continued lasting.
SAB: Annihilation abroad you’d like to add?
MN: Four agents are four times bigger than one.
About the BAM agents:
Prior to acceptable an NBA agent, Daniel Poneman spent a decade as a advance and adviser for added than 300 Division I colleges, NBA teams and all-embracing franchises. Profiled in the New York Times and Sports Illustrated as he fabricated his name on the grassroots scene, Daniel has risen from boyish advance to Chicago basketball mainstay. He’s helped hundreds of adolescent men from Chicago’s burghal acquire academy scholarships at all levels as the architect of the Shot in the Dark Foundation, and is accustomed with actuality the aboriginal advance to ascertain NBA talents including Anthony Davis and Jabari Parker. Best recently, Daniel partnered with Dwyane Wade and Adventitious the Rapper to aftermath Shot in the Dark, a Chicago basketball documentary that premiered beforehand this year on Fox.
Ernest “EJ” Kusnyer III grew up in Pittsburgh area he abounding North Allegheny Sr HS afore accomplishing a basic year at The Peddle Academy in Highstown, NJ. He went on to comedy bookish basketball at Mercer University, area he able additional in NCAA D1 3-pointers fabricated during the 2009-10 season. Afterwards his bookish career, EJ played able basketball beyond for bristles years and represented himself as a attenuate player-agent. He navigated his own career to able leagues in bristles countries, ultimately starring internationally in the celebrated FIBA Euro Challenge. Afterwards a few injuries, EJ absitively to adhere it up and retire from able basketball and pursued a career as an agent. EJ rose in the ranks bound now apery players in the NBA and top leagues beyond the world. In accession to his assignment as an agent, EJ serves as the Vice President of the Be a 9th Wonder Foundation, a non-profit alignment that provides student-athletes with education, sports development and activity abilities training at no cost. He has been affiliated to his wife, Jennifer, for seven years and they acquire three accouchement – Eva (4), Everett (1) and Eleanor (3 months).
Born and aloft in Chicago, Jelani Floyd is a acclaimed trailblazer in the action for the empowerment of athletes and their communities. He was a standout student-athlete at Whitney Adolescent HS (Chicago) and Phillips Academy (Andover, MA). He was additionally a student-athlete at Brown University and UC Davis, earning a ceremoniousness Managerial Economics amount in 2011. Best recently, he becoming his law amount from Chicago-Kent Academy of Law and became a certified NBPA Abettor afterwards years in an advising and business administrator role to some NBA players and their families. Afore enrolling in law school, Jelani played able basketball in Germany and Luxembourg. He became an abettor to brainwash and accommodate assets to his audience by candidly assuming them how they can use their NBA belvedere to empower their family, accompany and community. He has committed his activity and career to allegorical athletes, alive with them to use basketball as a abettor to added accomplishment and not let basketball use them. Jelani is additionally the architect and administrator of the Atypcial Sports and Learning Foundation, a 501c(3) non-profit based in Chicago.
Mike Naiditch ahead founded NET in 1999 afterwards spending 13 years in the acreage of finance, administration time amid the Chicago Board Options Exchange as a Specialist and the Banque de Gestion Privee in Paris as Administrator of Derivatives. In both ventures he auspiciously adjourned the barter of hundreds of millions of dollars of circuitous banking instruments. As above accompaniment chess champion, he applies the aforementioned acclimatized and appropriate access to accounts and sports contracts. He accustomed his Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Real Estate and Urban Land Economics at the University of Wisconsin.
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