The mindset of many athletes is naturally developed to hone the skills that have made them successful in the sport that they are participating in. The need to obtain someone and/or a team to handle everything else is vital to the success in the career of an athlete. This is where a sports agent becomes instrumental in developing the lifespan of the athlete.
BLACK ENTERPRISE spoke to Chris Gaston, the founder of the Family First Sports Firm, about his family-focused agency. Gaston opened up about why he started his firm, how he got started, and what makes a sports agent successful.
What led you to pursue a career as a National Basketball Players Association agent?
I worked in the industry for a long time in a trainer/player development/manager role with large agencies. As I gained more experience, I continued to see that the players were treated as more of a number than an actual real person. I also noticed the trend of people closely associated with the player being cut out or their importance to the player being diminished by the agent. I personally experienced agents minimizing my role and hindering my growth and that was enough for me to go get certified and start my own agency.
Tell us about Family First Sports Firm and why you started it. What goals do you have for the agency and what type of players do you intend to represent and why?
I started Family First because I want to empower the people around the player. I want to empower minorities who normally wouldn’t get an opportunity in the business. I intend to recruit and represent players who come from solid families and players who have the right mindset and approach to the game. Players who want to continuously work on their craft and impact their communities in a positive way. I want players who want to leave a lasting legacy on and off the court. Players who think outside of the box and aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo.
What are the necessary skills and/or qualities you feel are needed to be a successful sports agent? What will make FFS more successful in the future?
To be a successful agent, you must be honest, hard-working, and well connected! What will make FFS more successful in the future is for our company to keep growing organically with the right staff and employees that share our core values, for our company to continue to move the needle and make innovative moves, and the right mix of players to represent the brand.
If someone comes to you to get some advice to help them become a successful agent and/or to run a successful agency, what suggestions would you give them?
To be a successful agent and run an agency you must have grit, determination, and perseverance. You have to know how to handle rejection. Know that it’s business and never personal. Being an NBA agent is one of the most competitive jobs in the world. It’s an honor and privilege to represent NBA athletes and you can never take your job for granted.
If you could do anything over in life, what would it be and why?
I wouldn’t do anything over in life. All of my trials and tribulations led me to where I am today!