BasketballNews.com's Senior NBA Draft Analyst Matt Babcock
presents a series that will peel back the curtain from his time as
a sports agent, giving a glimpse at some of his personal
experiences working in the sports-agency business for over a
In the first entry of the series, Babcock outlines his move
to Los Angeles to begin his lifelong dream of working in
In the spring of 2006, I packed up my car, moved out of my
apartment in Tucson, Arizona, and hit the road. In my rear-view
mirror was the University of Arizona and my unavailing playing
career; however, I wasn't looking back. In my mind, I was destined
to follow in the footsteps of my dad and uncles — working in
basketball. It was time for me to turn the page and start my next
On the other end of that road trip was a summer internship in
Los Angeles where I'd be working at one of the biggest agencies in
all of sports: Wasserman Media Group. At the helm of the agency's
basketball division was famous sports agent Arn Tellem, who is now
vice chairman of the Detroit Pistons.
(Before becoming a sports agent, Tellem worked as general
counsel for owner Donald Sterling and the San Diego Clippers.
Tellem was also instrumental in the team's move to Los Angeles in
1984. In addition, my uncle, Pete Babcock, had been the vice
president of basketball operations for the Clippers while they were
in San Diego. So my family had a long-standing relationship with
Tellem dating back to the early 1980s before I was even born.
Likely due to my family's relationship with him, I was offered a
summer internship at Wasserman — and of course, I accepted).
Having previously worked in the agency business for over a
decade, many people ask me how I got started. Many assume I went to
law school and had a sophisticated, well-thought-out plan to pursue
a career as a sports agent. Well, that wasn't the case at all.
Contrarily, I had always wanted to work directly for an NBA team,
even as a child. I thought I'd start my career as a coach and
eventually transition into scouting — just like my dad did. I'll
elaborate on all of that later.
While working for Wasserman, I had typical intern-type
responsibilities, like sending faxes to teams or making airport
runs for players and staff members. However, Bob Myers and Greg
Lawrence (both agents) explained that my primary responsibility
would be to assist in player workouts on the court and helping
prepare their new clients for the NBA pre-draft process. It was the
perfect starting point for a young, aspiring coach.
I was ready to begin my career working in basketball — a dream
come true. But there was a big problem: where was I going to live?
It was a paid internship, but like most internships, it was only
entry-level pay, and L.A. is a costly place to live. My dad worked
in the NBA for years and my family did well, but I assure you I was
not on any "gravy train." I needed help!
To some people's surprise, although I grew up in an NBA family,
I was never given access to much money to spend on my own. Still, I
have greatly benefited from my family's connections within
basketball, especially early on in my career. My first stop in L.A.
might have been the best example of that.
After tapping into my family's network and trying to find
somewhere to stay for the summer, our family friend, Sam Goldfeder
— an agent for Excel Sports Management and, ironically, a
competitor of Wasserman's — graciously offered to let me stay in
his mother-in-law's guest house for the summer — free of
So I drove my car west on the I-10 across Arizona and into
California. Cell phones didn't have GPS yet, so I grabbed my
printed MapQuest directions and made my way into the L.A. area.
Before I knew it, I was in Beverly Hills — one of the world's most
prestigious neighborhoods. I passed the Beverly Hills Hotel, and it
dawned on me that I was at the final steps of the directions:
- Head east on N Crescent Dr toward Sunset Blvd.
- Sharp right onto Sunset Blvd.
- Slight right onto Benedict Canyon Dr.
- The destination will be on the left.
Sam hadn't told me any details about the house or the setup
other than that I would simply be staying in the guest house. I was
relieved and thankful that I had a place to stay, but I was still
curious to see where I'd be living for the summer.
When I finally pulled up to the house, I couldn't believe it —
the place was incredible! It was like a house I imagined where a
movie star would have lived. Eyes wide open, I pressed the button
at the security gate, and an unfamiliar voice answered, "Hello?" I
responded by telling the person who I was and that I was supposed
to be staying in the guest house for the summer. Subsequently, the
gate opened, and I pulled my car into the wrap-around driveway.
I was greeted by several women who worked for Sam's
mother-in-law at the house. They said they would make me dinner,
buy groceries and have my dry cleaning taken care of whenever I
needed it. They then showed me to the guest house in the back. The
whole situation was a bit surreal. I felt lucky, and I was
lucky! It was perfect!
I was a young, 22 year-old kid who was fresh out of college, set
to spend the summer living in the heart of Beverly Hills among the
rich and famous — all while working for one of the biggest agencies
in the sports industry. Finally, after a disappointing playing
career that weighed on me heavily, I had a chance to start fresh
and pursue my ambitions of having a presence in basketball —
separate from my family.
The following day, I began my first day at Wasserman and my
first day working in basketball. With high hopes, I had a world of
endless possibilities ahead of me.
Stay tuned for the next entry of this series: "My past life
as a sports agent: The 2006 NBA Draft."
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on