Person 2 Person
KUTV.com | Stories - Person 2 Person: Leigh Steinberg
Sunday, June 15 2014, 10:32 PM MDT
Person 2 Person: Leigh Steinberg
Leigh Steinberg is known as super-agent in the sports world. He has represented 63 first round draft picks, eight number one draft picks, and seven players in the hall of fame including former BYU Cougar Steve Young. He assisted in the creation of the movie Jerry Maguire and is often referred to as the aReal-Life Jerry Maguire.a However for Leigh, the spotlight has not always been bright. A series of events led him down a path of alcoholism. A path he has now changed and gone on to write a new book titled The Agent.  This week Shauna Lake sits down with him Person 2 Person.

Below is a transcript of Shauna Lake's interview with Leigh Steinberg:

SHAUNA LAKE: I want to know kind of how you become a sports agent in the first place.

LEIGH STEINBERG: While I was working my way through law school and they moved the freshman football team into the dorm. And one of the students was Steve Bartkowski. Who is 1975 became the very first player picked in the first round of the NFL draft and he asked me to represent him. So there I was brimming with legal experience never having practiced law before, and I had the first pick and we negotiated the largest rookie contract in NFL history.

SHAUNA LAKE: I read when I was researching you that all of the athletes that you signed, there was a clause in their contract that said you will give back. Where did that philosophy come from for you?

LEIGH STEINBERG: Pretty much from my dad. My father had two core values; one was to treasure relationships, especially family, and the second was to try to make a positive difference in the world and help people who couldnat help themselves. So I was hardwired that way and looking for a craft where I could do it.

SHAUNA LAKE: Was being an agent exhilarating? Was there a power trip behind that a little bit?

LEIGH STEINBERG: Oh it was very exciting. I was 25 years old, and we were playing on a national stage. It was terrific in the sense of working with young men and watching them fulfill their dreams and taking them into a second career.

SHAUNA LAKE: I think everybody saw the movie Jerry Maguire, aShow me the money!a Is it like that or is that just a characterization of a much more difficult job?

LEIGH STEINBERG: Well Cameron Crowe called me up back in 1993 and asked if he could follow me for a film that was going to be based on a sports agent. So he went everywhere I went. He watched what went on, and I told him storiesa|lots and lots of stories. So he went and wrote the script. So hopefully that filma|

SHAUNA LAKE: So youare Jerry Maguire!

LEIGH STEINBERG: There is not Jerry Maguirea|

SHAUNA LAKE: But itas based on you.

LEIGH STEINBERG: But itas based on the time we spent together. And then when it was over I had to vet the script to make sure the willing suspension of disbelief to keep you in motion picture wasnat broken. They descended on my office, took all of my pictures and awards and magically, Jerry Maguireas head was on mine and his name went on my honors.

SHAUNA LAKE: Wow thatas incredible. So what is the highest-high of your career?

LEIGH STEINBERG: There were many moments. Running up to Steve Young after he threw six touchdown passes against the San Diego Chargers and having him say, aThe monkeyas off my back. They monkeyas off my back,a because he had been behind Joe Montana or watching Troy Aikman win his first Super Bowl. And itas draft days. Draft day is the most marvelous experience; anxiety, fear, apprehension followed by exultant emotion; a family and a young man who has waited his whole life for that moment.

SHAUNA LAKE: So you have these high, high, highs and I canat help but notice this just of position. You also had some pretty major lows in your life.

LEIGH STEINBERG: In my personal life, a series of events I couldnat control, defend, protect against occurred. My dad died a long lingering death of cancer. My two kids were diagnosed with an incurable eye disease. We lost a home to flooding. Then eventually my marriage broke up. I found myself in an apartment, by myself, and found out it was legal to consume alcohol during the light of day, which I had never done. And it sent me on a spiral that I went down in 2007, eight, and nine. In 2010 I realized my life was out of control. So I made a decision to give my practice away, to go into sober living, and if nothing else for the rest of my life I would be sober, and Iad be a good father, and now Iam in my fifth year of sobriety.

SHAUNA LAKE: Leigh Iave been so happy to get to know you better Person 2 Person.

LEIGH STEINBERG: Itas been a pleasure.

SHAUNA LAKE: Thank you so much for your time.

Follow Leigh on Twitter @leighsteinberg

-Written and produced by Leslie Tillotson

(Copyright 2014 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)

Person 2 Person: Leigh Steinberg


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