AGENT DIFFICULT FOR WOMEN
Thursday, March 15, 2001
Section: SPORTS PRO BASKETBALL 2 POINTS AN OCEAN AWAY
SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES
(Editor's note: Sylita
Thomas, a 6-foot-2 forward from Petersburg, Va., is in her second
pro season after starring at Georgetown University. Thomas is writing
about her experiences once a month in The Washington Times.)
AANEKOSKI, Finland - I
am looking for a new agent, which is not as easy as you might think.
This is women's basketball. There is no pot of gold at the end of
the rainbow in women's basketball, except for a few players. For
many of the agents who represent women, it is partly a labor of
love. To make a living at it, agents either have a huge client base
or work at it part-time.
I'm a little wiser about
agents now than I was two years ago after I finished at Georgetown.
Back then, being something of a computer geek, I began searching
for agents on the Internet. The Internet was helpful, but it was
still a trial-and-error process.
The worldwide basketball
resource (telebasket.com) was the first place I researched. Everything
was there, except most of it involved men's basketball.
Jordan Sports, for instance,
represents more than 45 men's players but only a handful of women's
players. I understand the company's focus. You go where the money
I sought the company's
counsel. I could imagine the person making his calculations. I did
not represent a lot of Benjamins to the person. I did not have a
big name. I was just another collegian with solid credentials who
was looking to play in the $40,000-a-season WNBA.
All the agent stuff was
new to me then, kind of overwhelming. I don't know how the men do
it. They have so much at stake. If I make a wrong move, it's not
that big a deal. I'm still playing because I love the game. It's
not about the money, I can tell you that. I could be making a whole
lot more money in the computer field.
Anyway, given my lack
of knowledge with the agent process and my fear of getting lost
in the shuffle, I eventually signed with Vertical Horizons, a firm
headed by an ex-teammate from Georgetown, Ebiho Ahonkhai. It was
through Ahonkhai that I ended up here, with the Huima basketball
team, and I am grateful how everything has turned out.
Unfortunately, to increase
my WNBA prospects, I must secure an agent who, unlike Ahonkhai,
is certified with the league and knows all the ins and outs.
I've been talking with
Luis Alvarez Encina, president of Promo Sport, which is based in
Madrid, Spain. He represents a number of WNBA players, including
Brandy Reed, who plays with the Minnesota Lynx. Alvarez really seems
to know his stuff, both in the WNBA and the overseas markets. He
already has suggested that I play in Spain, Italy or France next
winter because they have the three best women's leagues.
A switch to one of those
leagues also would mean an increase in salary, and I like that,
even though I would miss all the friends I have made in Finland.
I'll be returning home
in two months, and I know there is a deep and talented senior class
waiting to enter the WNBA Draft, led by two players, Svetlana Abrosimova
of UConn and Tamika Catchings of Tennessee, who, unfortunately,
have sustained season-ending injuries.
Lauren Jackson, who is
from Australia, is the other name I keep hearing, if she elects
to make herself available to the WNBA.
I'll be looking to sign
as a free agent with one of the WNBA teams before training camp
gets under way in early May.
Until then, I'm looking
to do my part here. We seem to be in that win-one, lose-one mode
right now as we try to secure one of the four playoff spots. As
it stands, with three games left, we are in a fourth-place tie with
a 14-13 record. We do hold the tiebreaker over the other team.
I've been pretty consistent.
I'm averaging a league-leading 22.9 points, and I'm second in rebounding
You can find out more
at my Web site: http://www.hardwork.does.it/.