Agent saw the future in Lin’s tenacity, decision-makingPublished February 20, 2012
That player (no longer anonymous to sports fans): Jeremy Lin.
“He had 30 points in that game, but the thing that caught my eye was his tenacity,” said Montgomery, owner of his own company, San Antonio-based Montgomery Sports Group. “I liked his size and I liked his athleticism and I liked his decision-making. I felt he made good decisions on the basketball floor. … All the things we are seeing him do right now.”
At the time Montgomery recruited Lin out of Harvard, signing him in April 2010, there were about six or seven other agents trying to sign Lin, Montgomery said. Not many of those competitors were well-known agents, Montgomery said, although he said he knew that former agent Lon Babby, now president of basketball operations for the Phoenix Suns, was interested. Babby did not return a phone call.
Montgomery says he always knew Lin had what it takes to make it in the NBA, even as he was passed over in the 2010 draft. Lin
|Before Jeremy Lin broke through in the NBA, his agent saw his potential at Harvard.
Montgomery said Lin was simply overlooked. “I think it was his image,” he said. “You don’t find many Asian-American players. I think if you want to be truthful … it’s because he went to Harvard. That is not a basketball powerhouse. I mean, Harvard is not Kansas.”
Now, of course, everyone is knocking on Lin’s door, but Montgomery was mum as of early last week when asked about future marketing plans for Lin. “We are in discussions on what we are planning to do and we are excited, [but] I don’t want to share what we are going to do … because everyone is positioning themselves.”
Whenever a player with an agent who has a small client base becomes a star, there’s the chance a bigger agency could lure the player away. Montgomery says he is not worried about the possibility.
“People are always trying to steal players from other agents in the NBA. It is not something I am concerned about,” he said. He said his relationship with Lin is based, in part, on Lin being the underdog player and Montgomery being the underdog agent. They spent a lot of time talking about how Lin would make it if just given the right chance.
“We had discussions where we thought we were close,” Montgomery said. “We always talked about, ‘Breaking the door down. Breaking the door down. Breaking the door down.’”
NFL PROSPECTS SIGN: Impact Sports signed Nebraska linebacker Lavonte David for representation in this year’s NFL draft. Impact also signed Miami wide receiver Travis Benjamin, North Carolina linebacker Zach Brown, Georgia tight end Orson Charles, Virginia Tech cornerback Jayron Hosley and Alabama wide receiver Marquis Maze. Impact agents Mitch Frankel, Sean Kiernan and Tony Fleming will represent the players. … Sun West Sports founder and veteran NFL agent Frank Bauer signed Stanford tight end Coby Fleener for representation.
Liz Mullen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @SBJLizMullen.