I think it’s cute how Jay-Z is being portrayed as an agent lately. Yes, he’s licensed now and certified by the leagues and all of that so it is proper to call him an agent. But his company, Roc Nation, is partnered with Creative Artists Agency to do Robinson Cano’s contract negotiations, for example, and he is hiring people with sports experience to handle the day-to-day. Because, no matter what you think of Jay-Z, the guy is smart and savvy and probably knows his limitations. And he probably has more glamorous and exciting things to do than to play phone tag with Brian Cashman all November.
That said, he has some things going for him as an agent that his competitors don’t have. Such as unique life experience. Here he is explaining to Vanity Fair how his younger days will help him represent athletes in his new endeavors as an agent:
Jay’s checkered past taught him a few things that he says will come in handy in his new role as a sports agent: “I know about budgets. I was a drug dealer,” he tells Robinson. “To be in a drug deal, you need to know what you can spend, what you need to re-up. Or if you want to start some sort of barbershop or car wash—those were the businesses back then. Things you can get in easily to get out of [that] life. At some point, you have to have an exit strategy, because your window is very small; you’re going to get locked up or you’re going to die.”
That last point is probably most germane. Explaining to athletes that they have to plan for the future because an athlete’s future is pretty short too, relatively speaking. He probably can tell athletes, with more authority than anyone, how to take care of the present and plan for the future because of the small earning window they have. Sure, a lawyer could tell an athlete that, but the lawyer is probably making the most money in his life at age 55 or something and it may ring a bit hollow for that reason.