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Name: Sharon Creer, Career: Sports Agent, Age: 40, Niche: Off-season and international contracts, Location: Bay Area, Agent Salary Range:WNBA with marquee players: $50,000 — $150,000NBA with marquee players: $100,000 — $1,000,000
Why would players come to you, a coach asked Sharon Creer, referring to her male basketball clients.
“Why not?” she responded.
“Because you’re a woman,” the coach retorted as if the answer were an obvious one.
That was three years ago. And while female sports agents aren’t a novelty in the WNBA, “In the male genre, I’m still quite new,” Creer acknowledges. In the beginning, she often received voice mail from coaches who were startled by talking to a female agent. Creer hasn’t, however, allowed such overt or even intimated sexism deter her from what she identified as a great career opportunity.
Early in her career, she recognized an underserved niche market among gifted women basketball players whose season with U.S. leagues is only three months long. So Creer focused on specializing in pairing the National Women’s Basketball League, the United States Basketball League, and WNBA players during their off-season in the U.S. with international teams in countries that include Croatia, Israel, Russia, and Turkey.
A significant placement in 2001 was Creer’s signing WNBA World Champion and Houston Comet Tiffani Johnson to play in Korea. Other clients include San Antonio Silver Star Toccara Williams, who is playing in Turkey, and Shaquana Wilkins from the University of Miami, who is playing in Portugal. Creer is also currently negotiating a coaching contract for former NBA star Darryl Dawkins.
Earning a master’s degree in sports and organizational psychology from John F. Kennedy University in Orinda, California, Creer’s ambition was to be a sports psychologist–a position she found with a soccer team at Richmond High School in Richmond, California. A chance meeting in 1996 with prominent sports agent Bill Duffy (see Duffy’s bio in “50 Most Powerful Blacks in Sports” in the March 2005 issue) piqued her interest in sports management, and Duffy offered to serve as a mentor.
Her most critical lessons learned were about strategy and studying players as well as the team playbook. “Identify the team’s objectives to coincide with [the] player,” she recommends. Creer also suggests that of the five playing positions in basketball, new agents should study and focus on managing one type of player. Creer studied the forward position by watching all the games on cable and then strategizing on how her client in that position would benefit a particular team. Delores Jones, forward for the University of Chicago, was her first client.
“Be really focused on what you do for your client and follow through,” she offers. “Don’t be discouraged. If you don’t get the marquee player, the challenge then is that you can turn that player into a high-profile player.”
For those who are interested in pursuing sports management The Black Sports Agents Association (www.blacksport sagents.com) coordinates internships. Creer also recommends several books: Coming on Strong: Gender and Sexuality in 20th Century Women’s Sports (Harvard University Press; $18.95), How to Succeed as a Sports Agent (Oldcastle;