The folks at Merriam Webster define an iconoclast as a person who attacks cherished beliefs or institutions; and while he may not have “attacked” traditions, Leigh Steinberg certainly changed and had a major impact on the business of, most notably, professional football, but also sports management in general.
In his new autobiography, The Agent: My 40 Year Career Making Deals and Changing the Game, Steinberg details his astonishing rise to become one of the most highly respected and highly sought after figures in sports representation.
Said to be the inspiration behind the movie Jerry McGuire, the reality is Steinberg’s story makes the Tom Cruise flick seem like for a caricature, than a realistic portrayal of the inner workings of high stakes deal making in professional sports. While the book certainly serves of some interesting inside baseball on the front office dealings, it is the story of Steinberg’s youth and his calamitous fall from grace that makes for the most stirring reading.
The Agent ends up being an all-to-familiar account of a respected business powerhouse, who’s rise to power is eclipsed only by his precipitous downfall and serves as a lesson that even those who try to deal in an above board fashion, can fall victim to not only their own devices, but of insider backstabbing. The harrowing story paints a portrayal of a man whose comeback you can certainly get behind and root for.