Nicole Lynn signed her first client at 26, making her one of the youngest sports agents in the industry. In 2015, she became the first female agent to represent top NFL agency, PlayersRep. In 2017, PlayersRep was acquired by Young Money APAA Sports Agency owned by rapper, Lil Wayne.
Before Lynn became a sports agent, she worked on Wall St., initially in hopes to become a financial advisor for athletes. Realizing she wanted to make more of an impact on athletes’ day to day lives and their rights, she went to law school and got her degree from the University of Oklahoma. After law school, she worked at the NFL Players Association, the union that represents football players. Soon after, she was hired by Players Rep Sports Agency, one of the top 10 sports agencies in the country. She made history when her client, NFL player Quinnen Williams, was drafted as a number three pick for the New York Jets. That move made Lynn the first Black woman in history to represent a top 5 pick.
Her extensive client list includes NFL players with the Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, Washington Washington Football Team, an ESPY nominated softball star and a ballerina from American Ballet Theatre. Lynn attributes her growing success and perseverance to the adversity she faced as a child. She told Heavy, “I knew that I wanted to escape that life, and I had to work hard to do it. So I have always done just that. I owe every bit of success I’ve achieved to my extremely dedicated work ethic and my unwavering faith in God.”
You are the first Black woman in history to rep a first draft NFL pick. How does it feel to break barriers in such a boys club?
It feels amazing! This was one of my biggest career goals and to achieve it in less than 10 years of being an agent is mind-blowing. Sometimes I still can’t believe it, but I am proud to carry this torch. When I began pursuing this career, I knew that I didn’t want to simply exist in the industry. I knew from the start that I wanted to knock down walls and break stereotypes so that I could create a path for other women to join me.
Have you adjusted to being the only woman in the room? How do you hope that changes?
I don’t think being the only woman in the room is something I’ll ever fully get used to, but I think I’m getting better at owning it. In this industry, it is a must that you lead with confidence to secure the deal. So instead of being stuck on why being a woman sets me back, I have to own the reasons why being a woman makes me the best candidate. For example, there is a good chance that I will have more genuine compassion for you as a person outside of the football field. Not to say that male agents don’t care about their players, but women are often more naturally inclined to be nurturers.
Now don’t get me wrong. I fully understand that me being the most confident person in the room does not change the fact that most people will initially view me as a weaker link. Unfortunately, That’s just the way society currently works. My hope is that men, both on the athlete and business side, will break down that masculine lens that makes them see women as less competent in this industry. Who knows, maybe I can be the catalyst for that shift.
What inspired you to become an agent?
I didn’t always know I wanted to be a sports agent specifically, but I did know that I wanted to help athletes be successful even after they retire or leave the league. I saw first hand that a lot of my athlete friends would enter the league and go from rags to riches, and then back to rags. It would hurt me so bad to see them go through that because I can truly empathize with them. I have my own “rags” story and I am determined to NEVER go back to that. So what inspires me each day in this career is not just my own financial gain. My goal is changing what the average career of a professional athlete looks like by making sure they’re making lifetime mental, physical and financial investments that will ensure their success beyond the field.
What did it feel like to sign your first client?
Signing that first client gave me a rush of motivation that I couldn’t possibly put into words. There are over 40 NFLPA certified female agents, but only a handful have active clients. Breaking in that first client is extremely difficult, so I am extremely grateful to that first client that chose to trust me with his career. All I needed was a chance to prove myself and he gave me that.
How do you keep your relationships with those who you rep strong?
I keep my relationships with my clients strong simply by being invested in more than just what they can do on the field. I know their wives, children and parents. I take a genuine interest in who they are as a person and we just have a good time as a family.
What’s it like to work with Lil Wayne?
People always ask me that, and every single time I’m still shocked that I work for Lil Wayne hahaha! Overall he is a really cool guy so it doesn’t seem different while I’m in his presence. I’m just really grateful that he, along with all of the other amazing men on my team, believe in my abilities. He doesn’t hover over me or treat me differently. He allows me to fly and trusts that I will represent Young Money APAA Sports in the best possible way.
Where would you like your career to take you in the future?
One thing that I really enjoy about my career is that that it gives me a platform to connect with and inspire other women. I love speaking at conferences and even responding to the dozens of questions I get from young ladies working towards their definitions of success. The only thing I hate is that I can’t possibly respond to everyone. After reaching a certain level of success, I believe it is my responsibility to reach back and bring other women with me. With that being said, I hope to create some sort of conference or forum or class of my own that allows me to connect with more women and young girls in the future.
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