People have a perception about agents, and I think I’ll be able to change that. I look at myself and my partners and we’re the new generation of this business, and we’re going to bring change to it. —Daniel Hazan
Ptolemy VIII came to power as a pharaoh at age 11. King Tut inherited the throne at age nine. Mary, Queen of Scots ruled at six days old. So who says at age 23 that Daniel Hazan, founder of Hazan Sports Management, is out of his league?
Still, this is how young he is: Jazz guard Elijah Millsap, Hazan’s first client, is four years older. Hazan’s company also includes 22-year-old partner Andrew Hoenig and 20-year-old Ronnie Levi.
Anybody want to go doorbell ditching?
None of HSM’s employees has a law degree, the normal background in the sports agency trade. However, as he juggles a handful of clients — either in pro basketball or retired — Hazan is also attending Touro Law School in Central Islip, N.Y.
So here they come, ready to conquer the world or finish their Lucky Charms and go skateboarding.
The obvious question for Hazan is how did he do this? He told friends in the third grade that he wanted to be an agent. Not that many years later, he is. By following sports and being bright and resourceful, he became acquainted with former NBA Player Association president Billy Hunter and was offered an internship.
Hazan shadowed Hunter, watched the workings, met players and stored it all away in his mind. At that point he figured he could do this. He spent a year in Israel with Hoenig, then returned to attend Yeshiva University in New York.
During his junior year of college, he founded a business specializing in advertising on coffee cups. Five million dollars later, after being bought out, he had the money to start an agency at the august age of 22.
Hazan first began contacting overseas players, such as Millsap, who had played in Israel. They were introduced by a mutual acquaintance.
“We hit it off,” Hazan said in a phone interview this week.
Millsap (who could not be reached for this story) apparently was intrigued by the energetic young agent who said he could help “build a brand that could cover a 50-year career, not a 5-year career.”
Hazan intends not only to handle his clients’ basketball interests, but also their marketing endorsement deals, coaching engagements, speaking, writing and public appearances. He won’t be a parent, mentor or a teacher, as much as a contemporary. It's a 2015 approach, complete with plenty of social media savvy (@hazansportsmgmt on Twitter).
So far, he says, business is brisk.
“People have a perception about agents, and I think I’ll be able to change that. I look at myself and my partners and we’re the new generation of this business, and we’re going to bring change to it,” he said. “There are too many guys that make all these millions and end up going broke.”
Hazan says he wants to maintain a family atmosphere in his business. That should be good with Millsap, who is close to brother Paul, a forward for the Atlanta Hawks. The Jazz, too, see themselves as a family organization. So Hazan’s approach should appeal to many. He hasn’t yet had any clients big enough to require heated negotiating sessions with high-powered general managers, but he does represent players such as NBA D-League guard Aquille Carr and former NBA players Bill Cartwright, Craig Hodges, Ruben Patterson and ex-Jazz forward Bryon Russell.
His pitch to current players is simple: “We tell them we’re younger — we’re your age,” he said. “We know how to find a balance between work and having fun. They can talk to me about their problems and where they want to go. A lot of times they don’t have a lot of social media experience and the good thing is that we’re both trying to achieve our dreams and see them play in the NBA. So we can grow together. We’re young, energetic and have a lot more we can help our guys with, from a marketing standpoint.”
In 50 years, after they’ve all prospered, Hazan may finally be starting to act his age.
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