For the next installation of our Playmaker Profile series, I sat down with Michael Raymond. Michael, an up-and-coming sports and talent agent, is the president of Raymond Representation, an agency that provides a wide array of services for its clientele. Michael is the true embodiment of a playmaker, someone who has a drive and an entrepreneurial spirit. He accomplished starting a company while still working towards his law degree. Michael is far from just an NBA agent; his team works with all kinds of athletes and influencers. Raymond and I discussed how mentorship, networking, and determination put him on the path to success.
Michael Raymond: Before Raymond Representation
To understand where Michael is currently, we must look at how his journey began. The self-described “Broward County Boy,” whose family is originally from Philadelphia, grew up a huge Eagles fan. The six-foot-six-inch Raymond’s favorite sport to play was basketball throughout high school. Furthermore, Michael was always an all-around sports fanatic. This passion aided his desire to be involved in a sports-related major.
Raymond attended the University of Central Florida, becoming the Student President of the Sports Business program. He assisted professors Scott Bukstein and Keith Harrison, directors of the Sports Business Management program at UCF. Moreover, Michael used this opportunity to connect with many speakers brought to the school. Also, he participated in various research projects for the NBA and NFL.
While leading the over 150 member club, Raymond organized private trips to meet with various sports organizations. Michael met with leaders with the Denver Nuggets, United States Olympic Committee, Denver Broncos, Phoenix Suns, Arizona Cardinals, etc. He also gained valuable experience working in the Sports Management field at UCF. In total, he has worked with over 20 different sports organizations as a volunteer or intern.
What Influenced Michael’s Career Path?
I consulted with my parents, and I thought it would be cool to be a lawyer, but I still couldn’t decide. Then, I became familiar with the sports business program at UCF. Even though I couldn’t officially declare a major until after my sophomore year, I reached out to professors in the program. I began networking with players at the university and building relationships.
It was during the school business program that athlete representation became an idea. I had a great mentor, something I preach to younger students trying to break into the industry. You have to surround yourself with good mentors. I have to give a large amount of credit and a shout-out to Scott Bukstein. I wouldn’t be where I am without him. He pushed me to go work as an intern with at least six different organizations. I worked in operations, marketing, ticket sales; it always reverted to working with the players. That’s just my personality as I am a very outgoing person.
How Did The Law School Decision Happen?
During my junior year at UCF, I was still indecisive about law school. My mom connected me to a few lawyers. I was able to ask them questions and gain insights. I wanted to know if it was for me. So, I took the LSAT, did well the first time, and came close to my target. I figured I had it in the bag the next time.
I wanted to go to the University of Miami. After looking into everything, I knew that was the place for me. I ended up taking the LSAT four times and doing terribly on three. It took a huge mental toll on me over the year that I kept taking it. That year was one to remember as I was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune virus during that period that my family and I had to overcome. It was hard to juggle everything while taking the LSAT. I met with officials at Miami, showed my face, and kept grinding, and with the help of reputable letters of recommendation, I finally got in.
How Was Raymond Representation Formed?
My first year of law school was crazy, as one could imagine. I studied around the clock. After the first year, I interned at a sports agency and a law firm. I did this on purpose as I needed to know if I wanted to work in a traditional law firm or direct my efforts in the sports and entertainment arena. One thing is for sure; I did not want to be a ‘traditional’ lawyer!
Moving forward, during my second year in law school, covid hit. I was in talks with some agencies trying to determine my next move. Throughout this time, I would have players call me for advice. It was a range of things like financial, business, social media, etc. So, it seemed everything would always come back full circle to being an agent.
With opportunities presenting themselves, I looked at my roommate, who lives with me now, and said, “Let’s start our own agency.” I wasn’t certified at the time, which I am now, but thought, “we could be a consultant and marketing manager.” Advise players on a variety of things. If we can’t represent them, we get them in touch with people who can.
What Does Raymond Representation Offer Over The Competition?
I can’t knock any big-time sports agents or agencies, as they have built a solid reputation for themselves. I am someone who loves to study the competition and learn from my mistakes. You have to be willing to take and adjust things from other leaders in the industry. They have been around a long time for a reason, so I learn and add my touch to things. We will never change who we are! I would say that with us, you will get our full and undivided attention. We don’t pawn you off to an assistant; you will get our whole team working to put you in a better position. The agency prides itself on building lasting relationships with our talent.
We differentiate ourselves by helping any form of athlete become a leader and entrepreneur. Not only for themselves but to inspire and motivate those around them and build a foundation for the future. A mentor was vital during my collegiate career, and many of these guys are looking for the same thing. I am young, but the one thing I love doing is helping people! We go beyond the NBA as we represent influencers and entertainers. We come with an understanding of the value of all social media platforms. Our agency doesn’t just negotiate contracts; we provide many other services focused on each individual’s needs.
What Advice Does Michael Have For Those Wanting To Be An Agent?
There are a few things I would tell someone wanting to get in this business. The first is to have access to some capital. Whether it’s through investors or grinding it out with side hustles, you need to make sure you can fund things necessary to facilitate success. For example, we provide social media marketing campaigns for a few law firms. It’s expensive to start, so be ready.
Second, I believe strongly in physical and mental conditioning. I like to work out my body and my mind. It allows me to release stress in a manner that helps me. You have to emphasize your complete well-being if you don’t want to burn out.
Another concept I believe in is giving back. Whether through mentorship, volunteering, or charity ventures, it is vital to give back to the community. As I stated earlier, mentorship is a critical part of success in this industry. I am always willing to talk and help anyone who seeks my advice.
Lastly, you won’t get far without a good team in place. Luckily, I have that with the team we’ve assembled. We thoroughly enjoy this grind and journey. Along with that, the valuable experience each day brings.
Find Out More About Michael Raymond And His Agency
If you want to discover more about the newest things going on with Michael and Raymond Representation. You can go to the company’s website or on beacons. You can also follow Michael on Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, or YouTube.