To be honest when Richard K. Avery contacted me to do a story on ProSportsCareers.com, a new sport
agency based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, I was a bit hesitant.
First off, this website Frozen Hoops - www.frozenhoops.com – was created out of a passion for hoops.
It is of my own free time, free will and financial undertaking.
Same may be noted of my promoting the sport from the grassroots to the NBA, be it in media, coaching,
organising, etc cetera.
Secondly, it was always an honour to assist athletes.
Assist them into landing scholarships be it by editing and sending a VHS tape out on their behalf,
many a time without them even knowing, or putting in a good word for them with a contact.
Why do this? One should not have to ask.
It is better to give then receive.
So you see where the dilemma is in promoting someone who may benefit financially off another’s
And Richard is not the first or the last agent to contact Frozen Hoops for a story or link to their
But then learning more about Richard K. Avery and his company ProSportsCareers.com,
it was noted that certain things came to the top.
In bold it read: Please note that there is never a fee for our services until such time as a client
signs a professional contract that we have negotiated."
I liked that.
Richard had to have a deal on the table and was not about to rip someone off.
Plus he has been a basketball coach.
And when you are a coach, you have to have a passion for the sport.
For him to make a living you have to make a living.
So with no further adieu, here is a Question and Answer session with Richard on the life of a sports
Frozen Hoops: How and why did you become a sports agent?
ProSportsCareers: After a series of knee injuries ended
any chance at a basketball career for myself, I decided to find another way to make a career in sports so I took some investment
courses and thought I would be a financial advisor to athletes. But I found that I really didn’t enjoy the financial
consulting and brokerage business.
Then I stumbled into a career counseling and employment agency business for athletes who were still
actively competing in their sport.
My company called Pro-Group Consulting Inc. started and through my friendship with Howard Kelsey, who
at the time was Ken Shields right hand man at U of Victoria.
We were able to help out a lot student-athletes and coaches at the university find jobs so they could
continue to train and compete at a high level.
As well as finding some coaches part time jobs to supplement their coaching salaries.
The only problem was that we became pretty successful and the sports governing bodies stepped in and
started to provide the services we were already providing but they had a huge advantage over us and they could provide the
services with a larger wallet than my own.
It was during my work with this company that I was introduced to Art Breeze a hockey agent from Calgary
by Al Paterson who was the General Manager of the Victoria Cougars of the Western Hockey League at the time.
After some discussion I was offered a position with Art’s company Pro-Rep Entertainment Consulting
Group Inc. as their Player Representative in British Columbia and USA Pacific Northwest.
That is how I became an agent, totally by accident.
I left Pro Rep about five years later and started my own agency in Victoria because I wanted to start
representing athletes in other sports.
Pacific Sports Management Ltd. was formed and lasted until around 2000 when for health and personal
reasons, the company folded and I went to sort out my life.
During that time I went to Australia and coached a team in the Australian Basketball Association in
Adelaide and it was there where I got refueled to get back into the sports representation business.
I had the good fortune to meet and make friends with Lindsay Gaze and my passion for basketball revitalized.
When I returned to Canada I took some computer courses as I realized that any agency I would restart
would have to live on the Internet.
That brought me to June of 2004 where I started getting my website ready to launch and sent out messages
to my former associates in the business and in September of 2004 ProSportsCareers.com was born and it took off so quickly
and almost exclusively the athlete’s contacting me were basketball players and it soon became apparent that I wasn’t
going to have time for any other sports so I have decided to be a basketball only sports agency.
Frozen Hoops: At present how many clients total? How
many are Canadian?
ProSportsCareers: At present
I have approximately 200 clients (both males and females), about 150 men and 50 women.
Of these clients less than 10 of them are Canadian. That is where I hope being seen on your website
will help me become better know in Canada as I would be really happy to help Canadian players get jobs overseas and in North
My certification as a NBA agent is pending and will likely know by the time you have this article written.
I didn’t plan on getting certified at this time but I had some players who have had NBA interest
approached me to represent them so I had to get certified. I will know by the end of the months how many players I will have
in camps but it could be as many as three.
Marlon London out of Kansas and DePaul, Anwar Coleman from Virginia Union University and Gabe Inglis
of Bridgeport have all got considerable attention and we will be making announcements soon on where and if they will be in
Frozen Hoops: What are some of the higher profile players
you have handled?
ProSportsCareers: I did have
some success when I was representing hockey players with Olaf Kolzig being the highest profile player so I believe I can handle
some of the top basketball players as well.
Frozen Hoops: What contacts would you have to benefit
a Canadian basketball player in landing a pro career?
ProSportsCareers: What I
have to offer a Canadian player is a solid worldwide network of contacts with the pro leagues all around the world. I also
believe I understand the strength of the Canadian Universities, players better than an agent from outside of Canada. We are
also a full service agency so we can also help Canadian players with post basketball careers.
Frozen Hoops: Is a sports agent’s job and relationship
over with a player once he retires? Is it really as cut throat a business as it is made out
ProSportsCareers The relationship between player and
agent can be over after the player’s career is over but as I mentioned before being a full service agency we will help
our client through the rest of their lives if they want that. I try hard to not just consider my clients as just a fee for
service cheque and try to build a strong relationship with them so they feel they come to me and ask for help if they need
The business can be very cut throat but for the most part my experiences have been great. It is nothing
like what the movies and TV shows would have you believe. It is a lot less glamorous than that. From time to time you will
run into an agent who tries to steal your players but it has been my experience that those guys don’t last very long.
Frozen Hoops: What are the main five things that a sports
ProSportsCareers: That is
a difficult question to answer because I think it would be a different for almost every client. One thing we all need to do
or we won’t be in the business long is recruit clients. Once you have a client we would then gather all the information
we can on the player to market them to the people who make the decisions likes the General Managers, Scouts and Coaches.
You also have to make yourself available to your clients and decision-makers at all times. I believe
you also have to be very direct and honest with your client and that sometimes means telling them that they are not going
to make it any further and as hard as that can be at times I think it is important. I always tell clients, "be careful of
the people who always tell you what you want to hear."
Frozen Hoops: What is your relationship on and off the
courts with the sport of basketball over the years?
ProSportsCareers: As I mentioned
earlier basketball has been a very big part of my life growing up in Victoria where basketball is a big sport. My playing
career didn’t last or go to where I wanted due to injury but it has given me many of the friends I have now. It has
always been something that when other parts of my life weren’t going so well I could always count on basketball."
So there you have it the spoken word by Richard K. Avery.
Some of his current Canadian players include Darren Apels and Terrence Hyacinth.Players
may contact him at email@example.com, go to this website at www.prosportscareers.com or by snail mail Pro Sports Careers, 424-1701 Cedar Hill X Road, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8P
2P9 or phone 1-250-721-0199.