Wasserman represents Marshawn Lynch, Russell Westbrook, Mia Hamm, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, etc. COO & Vice President of Team Sports Jason Ranne shares about the importance of daily diligence & stoicism while providing an inside look into running a sports agency.
Speaker 1: On today’s show, we’re interviewing the chief operating officer and the vice president of team sports for one of America’s leading sports agencies, and that agency is Wasserman.
Z: Wasserman. That’s how you say it.
Speaker 1: Actually not, but we’ll keep going. You see, Wasserman represents the NFL star beast mode, Marshawn Lynch, NBA star, Russell Westbrook, the soccer star, Mia Hamm, [inaudible 00:00:24] The NBA star, Draymond Green, NBA star, Clay Thompson, and countless a list professional athletes. Ladies and gentlemen, get this. Today’s guest, Jason Ranne [Rainey 00:00:34] was a very good high school basketball player.
Z: Well, when will you tell us the rest of the story?
Speaker 1: But yet he decided to walk on to the number one division one basketball program in the country at the time. Yes. My friends without an invitation, he decided to join the Arizona Wildcats as a walk on. He was not offered a scholarship. He was not recruited to be there and yet he worked tirelessly until he earned a full scholarship and yet the story gets better. My main man, Jason Ranne Rainey, went on to earn a full scholarship. Yes, but he was also named co-captain of the team during his senior year. And on today’s show we talk about what it’s like to manage top level athletes, the importance of daily diligence, why there is no substitute for preparation and the value of having a stoic mindset. Ladies and gentlemen, all this and more on today’s interview with Jason Ranne Rainey, the COO and vice president of Team Sports.
Z: For a literal company that I like to call Wasserman.
Speaker 1: You’re saying it weird.
Z: Saying what weird?
Speaker 1: All of it.
Z: Where do you get off?
Speaker 1: I just don’t get why you’re saying it that way.
Z: Why I’m saying what what way?
Speaker 1: It’s cool. Just forget it.
Z: I will. I will forget. Some shows don’t need a celebrity in a writer to introduce a show, but this show does. To men, eight kids co-created by two different women, 13 multi million dollar businesses. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Thrive Time Show.
Speaker 1: Yes, yes, yes and yes. Thrive Nation, on today’s show, we have an incredible guest, Mr. Jason. Rainey, welcome onto the thrive time show. How are you sir?
Jason: Great. Thanks for having me.
Speaker 1: Hey, I am very excited to introduce you to the Thrive Nation and I think some of the listeners out there might be familiar with you and what you do. Maybe many are not. Could you share with the listeners out there what your current day job is?
Jason: I’m the chief operating officer and executive vice president of Wasserman’s talent representation practice, and that’s the sports agency. We’re headquartered in Los Angeles, but we’re a global company with about 800 employees worldwide.
Z: So Jason Ranne did Dr. Z here. If I wanted to make myself eligible for the 2019 NFL draft, could you be the guy that I I would contact?
Jason: You could, but I would refer you to someone who could handle your talent level.
Z: How much talent do I have to have for Wasserman’s group to kind of take me on? I mean [crosstalk 00:03:23].
Paul: He’s 54.
Jason: You have to be pretty good. Our NFL agencies are representing the top players, top players.
Speaker 1: And I know you’re not a name dropper, Jason, but I want to make sure the listeners understand the width and the depth of of Wasserman. Could you explain some of the athletes or share the names of some of the athletes that your firm proudly represents?
Jason: Sure. So we’re in every major sport in the NBA. We’re proud to represent some thunder players, Steven Adams, Russel Westbrook, as well as some non thunder players around the league and Brooke Lopez, Robin Lopez, Derrick Rose, Damonte Sabonis. We have a pretty good mix there and baseball our superstars. Jose Ramirez, John Carlos Stanton, Yu Darvish, some pretty talented young kids and Nick Sensel, Havi Baez, Nolan Arenado. Hockey, Connor McDavid, Austin Matthews, Roman Yossi. In women’s sports, we also have a great client list there across a variety of Olympic sports. Hilary Knight in women’s hockey, Torah Bright in snowboarding. On the basketball side, Sue Bird, Candace Parker, Diana Taurasi. Coaches, we represent Luke Walton, Fred Hoiberg. Golfers, Jason Ranne Day, Ricky Fowler, Tony Finau. NFL, Marshawn Lynch, Cameron Jordan, some very top soccer players as well. Both on the women’s and men’s side. Women’s, Alex Morgan, Mia Hamm, Abby Wambach. On the men’s side, retired players like Landon Donovan and existing players in London. U.S. here as well. So.
Speaker 1: Now you… I want to kind of bridge the gap between where you are now and where you started. I love this. I like to share with the listeners how our guests started and where their careers began. My understanding is you started off playing basketball in high school at Bishop Kelly high school and I’d love to ask you on a scale of one to 10 with 10 being the best player in the world and a one being just terrible, 10 being the best, one being the worst, how good were you in high school?
Jason: I would say I was above average. On a scale of one to 10 I’d say I was a six or seven. I got recruited by a few schools from bad D1’s to good D3’s and ultimately walked on at university of Arizona. Although I wasn’t their primo selection for that year. I struggled my freshman year there basketball wise and was surrounded by some very, very talented players.
Speaker 1: I’d love for you to share with us. Go back to your glory days because I know every year since your high school career wrapped up as you think back and you start to share with maybe your kids and family, you become probably better year by year in your mind those are the high school years. What was your best game in high school? The best game you had?
Jason: My most memorable game was probably against Bishop McGuinness. I think I was a senior that year and they were nationally ranked and they had some really high level recruits, Terrence Crawford and a couple of other players. And my high school team, I still to this day are very close friends with all those players that competed with me. So when we played McGinnis that year, it was like the first time we had played a nationally ranked team at Kelly in a while and it was very competitive. I remember us coming out of the Gates very strong and hanging with them until the fourth quarter and at the end of the game we won it on a last second shot. I passed it a teammate named Matt Land, made a 15 footer and then I remember all the fans rushing the court at Kelly, which was the first time that had ever happened to me, which was pretty fun.
Speaker 1: Awesome.
Z: Pretty cool.
Speaker 1: Now you walked on at Arizona, is that correct? You walked on in Arizona?
Speaker 1: In Arizona at the time, I believe, correct me if I’m wrong. I think Arizona at the time was hovering between a top 10 and top 20 basketball program. Am I correct there?
Jason: My freshman year we were preseason number one and we were definitely around the top 20 every year during my time.
Z: Wow. You just wait for the preseason number one. I think I’ll just walk on. [crosstalk 00:08:03].
Speaker 1: This is the question where… I’ll know if you don’t like this question if you hang up on me, but this is what I want to ask. You come across as a really measured guy. Our mutual, a friend, a coach Calvert speaks very highly of you. As I’ve Google stalk you, it looks as though you’re a very, very sharp guy, measured guy. Did you lose your mind when you decided to walk on at a division one school that was the best in the United States? I mean, what were you thinking man, the odds were against you?
Jason: You know, for me, oftentimes in the moment, I don’t think through those kinds of things. I can say that I was 100% intimidated. My first practice, I still remember my first practice. They would do preseason, like an individual workouts and they would do guards and wings and bigs, you’d have a little group. And I remember my first practice, Richard Jefferson was a sophomore and maybe he was a junior, I can’t remember, but I had to match up with him. They would do this drill, they pass to the wing one-on-one and you’d have to have one or two dribbles and score. And Richard got the ball and I was defending him and he took one dribble to the elbow and elevated to shoot a jumper. And I remember his waist being at my eye level when you’re shooting this jumper. And I remember thinking that after that day that like, okay, this is another level. I have a problem. I better figure out something to do with my life that’s not professional basketball because I know that that person’s playing professional baseball and this person in me is not.
Paul: Jason Ranne this is Paul Hood, did you… I played a little college football and my oldest son was like all state football and did you struggle? Like when you left Bishop Kelly, you were kind of the guy. Like my son was the guy before we score touchdown.
Z: The dude.
Paul: Yeah, he was the guy. And then he walked on at Oklahoma State and he quickly realized, wow, I’m not the guy. And it was more of an emotional struggle than it was physical to think he’d never sat on the bench. He had always been the leader and everything. And so dealing with that, I think must’ve been a struggle for you.
Jason: Yeah. for me, I’ve never… I think, like I said, I pretty quickly realized that I wasn’t going to ever have a huge opportunity there, but it ultimately wasn’t the reason I went to university of Arizona. It wasn’t to become a professional player, be the guy. I had a long history of my family. I was born in Tucson. Both of my parents went there and my grandparents were there. So there was an interest to me go to school there in general. And so I didn’t struggle as much emotionally with just having my opportunity to play as it was, can I compete? Like, can I compete on this level given how big of a jump it was to where I had some value to offer them. I just didn’t want to be a throw in all the way my four years there.
Jason: I wanted to be able to contribute in some way to the program and looking back, I do think that that took me at least six months to figure out, if not a whole year. I remember coming back my sophomore year and I lifted weights, I put on weight, I was much stronger. I remember coaches commenting about it and that’s kind of really when I think showed them and the teammates there that I actually had a reason to be there to help this program as opposed to just being a walk on to sit the bench and get good grades.
Speaker 1: Now my understanding is that your junior year you were given a full… You earned a full scholarship your junior year and you were actually voted as co-captain of the entire team.
Speaker 1: Your senior year… Walk us through the process of becoming a… Going from a walk onto actually earning a full scholarship. What did that feel like to get the full scholarship and then what did it feel like to become the co-captain of the team?
Jason: Yeah, it blew me away. I mean, Jim Rosborough was the associate head coach there and Lute Olson was the head coach and they had always told me that that if I did what I was supposed to do, there may be opportunities for that. When I first started there, I went actually on an academic scholarship to Arizona and so for me thinking I was possible but not actually, I never really believed that that would happen when it did, it just, it really floored me for about a week on like this actually happened and I could see my parents and how proud they were. And it was a pretty emotional week I think for all of us to have that reward. But I use this quote that my high school coach, Danny Lions gave me where it’s luck is where preparation meets opportunity. And I definitely had luck involved in that because we were such a high level program.
Jason: We had kids constantly going… Either transferring or going to the NBA and they couldn’t fill the recruits fast enough in a couple of the years. So there was in junior year senior there were extra scholarships. I have no doubt they would not have given me that scholarship if the number one prospect in the country said he wanted to come that year and it didn’t happen. But I also was prepared and as I said, I felt like I really took a step forward my sophomore year going into that junior year to show that I had some meaning to this organization and university and team and they rewarded me with that. It was great. And then being senior and a captain that also just was unbelievable to be voted that even though I wasn’t playing every single day and have some recognition from your teammates and the program and that you have a role to play and you can help and contribute.
Speaker 1: What kind of things did you do on a very practical, on a very specific daily basis that allowed you to earn the respect and the confidence of your coaches? What kind of things were you doing on a daily basis to earn that scholarship?
Jason: To me. I mean, I think half of life and success is just you show up and do what you say you’re going to do. Today… And like in our work environment today, we just call people back. Come in on time, do your work, call people back, be diligent. And I definitely did all of those things when I was there. I did what I was supposed to do in the classroom. I was very good academically for the program and for myself. But then also I never missed practice. I was always there. I was always positive. I always played hard. The days that I didn’t play well it didn’t last. It didn’t go into weeks of not doing well. And I always got along with everybody whether they were more famous, more senior or junior, doesn’t matter, always got along with everybody.
Jason: But I’d also seen a lot in the program by that time, my senior year especially. My freshman year we were preseason number one and then Lute Olson’s wife Bobbi passed away of cancer that year. And we really struggled as a team and then turned it back around at the end of the season to make the championship game. Going into sophomore year we were… All these players that left to go pro. We were rebuilding and that was a unique team and then junior year we were back to being in the top 10 in the country and going to Elite Eight. Senior year was another sort of rebuild kind of thing and and trying to overachieve. So I was one of the only ones who had seen so much and all of the ups and downs and the different types of teams that the coaches had put together and the type of system and everyday preparation that they wanted. So I was able to be a good conduit of stability for an ever-changing program.
Speaker 1: What made you decide to want to attend the University of Minnesota to study law after graduating from the University of Arizona? Were you attracted to the weather, the rhubarb, the endless references to Prince? What drew you to the University of Minnesota to study law?
Jason: I was attracted to my now wife.
Speaker 1: Oh, Oh, there we go. This just in.
Speaker 1: There it is. Okay.
Z: That’ll get her done.
Jason: So she… We met at University of Arizona. She was a gymnast at the U of A and she was a year younger and graduated in five years. So we were two years apart in terms of school and her family is from Minnesota. And so I was smitten. The grand plan was that I would go up to University of Minnesota, which was a good school. I think it was top 20 or still is at the time. And I would work two years in law school. She would graduate and come up and work my third year of law school and it would all go well. That was really why I considered it. But I also knew I wanted to go to law school and almost my whole life since eighth grade. So I felt like it didn’t ultimately matter where I went. And I actually believe a lot in that of, especially with higher education, it doesn’t really matter where you go, as long as you do what you’re supposed to do, wherever you are, you’re going to have opportunities. And I believe that then and I believe it now and it worked out fine for us.
Speaker 1: How tall are you?
Jason: I’m six, four.
Speaker 1: So you are… As a college basketball player, just give us some context. How much did you weigh? How tall are you? What was your vertical leap? Just give us some of the stats.
Jason: All right. So in college I came in at like 180, six, four, 180. By the time I finished I was around six, four, 207 and I was managed to keep that in my last couple of years. Junior year 207. I’m now down to six, four 180 again cause it was hard to put that on and keep an eye on. Athletically, trust me, I’m not athletic. I’m as athletic as any of you probably in that room. I wasn’t the regular dunker. Everything I did was smart. I remember a teammate of mine, Seleme Stottlemyre you can probably Google this. It was a funny quote. Someone in the media asked him one day about me as a player and what I do for the team. And his quote was, man, I don’t know how, but I can never steal the ball from him. I don’t know how he’s a good at anything he does. And I’m thinking, yeah. That’s pretty much it.
Jason: And then I had another weight coach in the room. We were warming up one day. It was preseason hard, no one wants to be there and you had to do these things where you stepped over these hurdles, like track hurdles. And you had to step over to start warming up your hips and stuff. And I was very grinding through slowly. And I remember the weight coach saying, Jason, be an athlete today. And I still remember that today of like, yeah, that’s not why I was successful and ultimately won’t be. I think my what I’m known for as far as basketball but, and slim said no one could ever take the ball away from me and I didn’t make mistakes.
Paul: But Jason, don’t you think that coaches really appreciate that? For instance I see so many people, kids, young kids with talent that just, they don’t just show up all right. For instance, my Alma Mater Oklahoma State, our coach had to dismiss three of our best players this year because the goofy kids allegedly took a BB gun and we’re out in parking lot shooting windows out when they’re there to go to school and their futures. Yeah, it’s not a move. And so coaches appreciate guys like you that show up and work hard and like you said, just do what you say you’re going to do. Is it frustrating to you? Do you ever represent kids that come out and have great talent and great possibilities and you see that in them, but yet they just can’t? I mean does it frustrate you to see [crosstalk 00:19:34]
Speaker 1: I’m sure Wasserman has never represented an athlete that’s crazy. I’m sure that’s other other agencies.
Paul: Other guys.
Speaker 1: But did you ever see that in general though, Jason, from athletes that are very talented? Do you ever see that does it ever frustrate you?
Jason: Yeah, I mean, you see them squander the moments that they have. There’s so few moments in time that they have a chance to take it to the next level, to capitalize. And all their careers are very short in the scheme of life compared to the rest of us. So yes. And does it frustrate me? In this role and what we do here, we are their advisors, we’re their fiduciaries, we’re their support group and really ultimately we don’t get frustrated by it. We just have to keep fighting through to support them and protect them. But it is I would say sometimes disappointing or shocking. And if you can’t reach them over multiple times, if you see it’s going one way and you try to correct it and you try to support and you do everything, but over time you know they keep making the same mistakes and it looks like it’s self destructive. That’s just very sad and I have a lot of empathy for those situations.
Speaker 1: Now, Jason, you are now the chief operating officer and executive vice president of the teams sports division, the team sports division for Wasserman, one of the top agencies on the planet. How did you first get started there? Were they impressed with your ability to keep the ball away from people or how did you get hired?
Jason: When I was finishing law school, I was really wanting to be a lawyer and I was close to accepting a position at a firm in Phoenix when Jim Rosborough was associate head coach at Arizona called and said, hey Arn Tellem wants to meet you. I think that was back 2006. I think, the winter of 2006 and I knew who Arn was. If you Google them today, he’s probably the most transcendent sports agent that has ever lived and Scott Boris is up there but Scott only did one sport [inaudible 00:21:41] done one sport Arn did multiple and was very influential in both. So I said, sure, I’ll take the interview. Went out there. I didn’t want to be an agent initially. I really went to law school to be a lawyer and after the interview and talking with Arn more, he was gracious enough to create a position that was a legal position that Wasserman when it was really just launching. Arn had just sold his business to Wasserman and he let me grow in that role and and learn pretty much all the back office legal operational stuff there is to know about doing a sports agency and multiple sports and that gave me a great foundation to then grow from there.
Z: Jason, I have a question for you. Have you ever had one of your athletes ask you this or say this?
Speaker 1: Be careful with this question, Z. Be careful.
Z: Show me the money. Have you ever had… Have you ever experienced… Have you ever had anybody say that to you?
Jason: Not seriously. Everyone repeated that line for many years. Half kidding. Half kidding. I should say. But yes, it has occurred in my life.
Z: Yeah, that’s good to know.
Speaker 1: Now during your first go round over there at Wasserman, did you ever work directly with the big time athletes like Derrick Rose or what kind of work were you doing for Wasserman during your first stint with the company?
Jason: Yes, so I was in a little a legal role, but I also, was a Jack of all trades. And we were very much like a startup at the time and with a lot of different opportunities. So I sold marketing. I remember trying to pitch the North Carolina Peanut Farmers Association on a deal for Sean May at the time. He was just coming out of the university of North Carolina. I did client service. Day to day logistics with them and their families. I was recruiting clients myself, represented my own. But I also did all the operational budgeting, planning, legal stuff across every sport we had. And that’s been soccer, baseball, golf, basketball, mixed martial arts, action olympics, done a lot of that stuff.
Speaker 1: Now my understanding is after your first stint with Wasserman, how long did you work at Wasserman before the Oklahoma Cit Thunder called you?
Jason: Five years.
Speaker 1: So five years. And then who called you on the Thunder and what did they want you to do with that organization?
Jason: Sam Presti, who’s I think the president now, and I mean I know he’s got the GM title, but he’s been there a long time and very successful. So he called me out of the blue to say he wanted to talk about a client of mine named Deontay Garrett. And then at the time I was naive and I didn’t realize that Sam Presti doesn’t really fly to LA to meet with me about Deontay Garrett who was good but not… He was a third point guard in the NBA. So we went to breakfast and he told me that Rob Hannigan, who was assistant GM at the time there, was taking the Orlando Magic GM job. And then he had this opening in his front office and he wanted me to consider it but that he wanted to create a role with me, what I wanted to do and what he thought was needed for their organization. So that’s kind of how that started. And we spent some time, months actually trying to figure out what the role would be and how it would be. And before I ultimately decided to leave Wasserman, which was a gut wrenching for me cause I loved this place and it was very tied to it as sort of my first opportunity within the sports world.
Speaker 1: When you left, I think a lot of people, Z, leave jobs the wrong way.
Z: They do. Burn a bridge, you know.
Speaker 1: So here you are working with Wasserman, you’ve been there for five years and I just want to ask, I’m going to ask you this cause this is probably very helpful, very actionable for the listeners out there. Hopefully listeners out there, you’re picking up on the diligence. This is one thing where you hear a lot from our successful guests is the diligence, but also the idea of building lifelong relationships. How did you transition? What were the conversations like and how did you transition? Because ultimately you’re back there now, so you must have done it right. How did you do it?
Jason: Yes. I think it’s key that you’re open with your superior, whoever that is, your boss at the time. And that you explain that you’re considering new opportunity and you explained for the right reasons. I’ve never leveraged one for the other, so I’ve never went to Arn or Casey at that time and said, hey, if you don’t give me this, I’m going to Oklahoma City. And when I left Oklahoma City this time to come back to Wasserman, same thing with Sam. So I always explain it very openly and personally on why I’m even looking at it and why it’s relevant to me. So doing that with Arn and Casey at the time and talking about, hey, I grew up in Tulsa, my family’s close to Oklahoma City and I have a one year old son and I love Oklahoma and always will. And this is a unique thing for me.
Jason: And then we talk about if I stay and everything I was doing and what that would look like. And then you just got to make a choice, but I always feel like if you give people an opportunity to weigh in, be part of your decision and you do it in an authentic way where they really are part of your decision, if they end up being on the wrong side of that decision, I think they feel valued. Even if they feel, a little scorned and you didn’t go with them. I do think that they feel valued and whether it’s a week later or a day later or a month later, you can always call back and and know that you did it right and that they respected you for that. So I think it’s important you communicate, you’re authentic, you’re open, you’re honest and you don’t treat people like they’re just an opportunity to leverage a moment in time because we all have moments in time to do that. But over many moments in time, if you treat people to where you’re just trying to squeeze the dollar out of them or as if it’s a transaction, you will lose out I think over time.
Speaker 1: How long were you with the Thunder?
Jason: Three years.
Speaker 1: And what kind of daily activities did you do with, with the Thunder,
Jason: I was the director of strategic planning for them on the basketball side and a lot of that focus was on planning our roster out multiple years in advance using the trade deadline, free agency and the draft to build our roster and try to maximize each position from a performance standpoint and a financial standpoint for the club. So we would create a plan. We literally created a strategic plan over that time, trying to look at when our stars were becoming free agents and maximize those opportunities before that and then hopefully retain them in the end. So.
Speaker 1: Did you think that [Harden 00:28:30] would become a guy who could score over 35 points again?
Jason: You know, I wasn’t there at the time when the Thunder traded him to Houston. But I can tell you, I remember when I was at Wasserman, we recruited James as a client. So I remember going to a lot of college games watching him. And even in the NCA tournament, he wasn’t good. It wasn’t very good. I mean, he’s not bad and that he would have been an NBA player, rotation player fine and have a great career. But the idea of him being this transcendent, no, it was not there. I do remember though, the thunder did a lot for him as far as working on some of his limitations. You know, he used to only jump off two feet, for example. And you watch what he does now with the ball and everything’s this one foot and very controlled, strong core, strong hands. A lot of that started with identifying the issue and making him better. And I think the Thunder are known for that is player development and finding ways to turn you into something that you maybe even didn’t know you could be.
Z: So I have a shot. [crosstalk 00:29:32] It goes back to maybe having a shot. You’re saying I have a chance.
Speaker 1: That’s what he’s saying.
Z: You’re saying I have a chance. I mean, I work on my core.
Paul: Let’s you jump. Let’s say you jump, Z. [crosstalk 00:29:43] Jason, Dr. Z is a 50 year old man. He’s an optometrist who has great calves. Does that help at all?
Z: I’ve got to work on my core though.
Paul: Yeah, your core is [crosstalk 00:29:51].
Z: It always goes back to core. I told you that.
Speaker 1: Now Jason Ranne don’t want to ask you this. When did you decide it was time to go back to Wasserman? When did you decide, okay, it’s time to go back. I’m coming back.
Jason: I didn’t even think about it until Casey Wasserman and Mike Watts, who’s our president here, called and said, we’d be interested in having you back. ARN Tellem had left Wasserman to go become the chairman of the Pistons. And they called and said, hey, if you have interest in this job, we’d love to talk to you about it. And I did what I did every time I went to Sam and I said, hey, this is what happened. I want to look at it for these reasons. But it doesn’t mean I’m taking it and I just need your support while I look at it and spend a lot of time talking about what it’s like on the agency side versus the team side and where Wasserman was and where it could be going into the future. And ultimately the first decision was a blend of my family and being in Oklahoma again and career and this decision. We like LA, but I would rather live in Oklahoma. So this was much more about career for me and having a chance to build something of our own here in multiple sports over a long period of time to see where it goes.
Speaker 1: A lot of my friends who’ve moved to LA, who are about… Jason, how old are you right now? How old are you?
Jason: I’ll be 38 in August.
Speaker 1: Okay, so you and I are basically the same age here. Okay. So we’re both about the same age here. A lot of my buddies, Paul, I’ve seen it, they moved to LA, Oklahoma boys. They moved to LA.
Speaker 1: And all of a sudden… Well it’s because it’s the music industry or it’s the film, that kind of thing. And all of a sudden the pants get really tight, like vacuum packed tights, you know, tight pants, really tight.
Z: Skinny jeans.
Speaker 1: Skinny jeans. And they got the Bieber shirts going on and they’re always wearing the new Jordan’s but they never tie the laces and then they start getting interesting haircuts. Has that happened to you yet Jason?
Jason: Nope. I’m still, I still have strong… I just a fact, I still have an Oklahoma cell phone number, so that tells you [crosstalk 00:31:51] my life it’s sort of still there, but yeah, I do have to do a little more LA about my life. I would say food, especially nutrition has permeated my life between kale, sushi, quinoa, all those things. Everything else is mostly the same.
Z: Have you gotten vegan on us?
Speaker 1: That big steak. Do you find yourself reading esoteric poetry during the day while being oddly casual and everything?
Jason: I do not.
Speaker 1: Okay. I just wanted to make sure.
Jason: You guys should come out. You should spend some time out and then hit Manhattan beach. See what you think. Do a show from out there. I bet you it pulls on you a little bit.
Speaker 1: I promise if you’ll sit down with me to do a show, I will come out and interview you. I make that a commitment here on the show. If you’ll sit down with me. I will come out there to interview you.
Z: And we’ll sip coffee in a cafe for two hours for lunch. How’s that?
Speaker 1: And we’ll use the word bro a lot.
Z: Bro, bro. Bro.
Speaker 1: Jason Ranne bro. Jason Ranne bro. Your firm. That represents some just awesome like athletes and stuff.
Speaker 1: Trayvon Green, Clay Thompson, Russell Westbrook, Rickie Fowler, Marshawn Lynch, just huge names. What is the most fun or enjoyable aspect of working with people like this on a daily basis?
Jason: To me it’s the, it’s the connection with them and I love building the relationships with them and their families, but also the careers. I mean if we really partner with the world’s best athletes and brands and properties to transform their careers as they go through the life cycle of an athlete or a company so that… When you look back and you see some of the successes that we’ve had as a company and our clients have had with us, it’s very rewarding to have that track record. I also think it’s… Every day is different. It can be stressful because every day is different and it’s hard to plan, but it also gives you something to look forward to each day. Something that inspires you and keeps your mind going so you never get into a rut.
Speaker 1: We’ve interviewed Marshawn Lynch’s former teammate at [CAU 00:33:59], Justin Forsett on the show and he was a great interview and he was telling us all sorts of great things about Marshawn Lynch and his mindset. And I’d love to get your take on what makes Russell Westbrook and Marshawn Lynch, these incredible athletes kind of behind the scenes, these sort of character traits. Let’s go with a Russell Westbrook here. What, what makes him so good on the court? I mean he just looks so intense. It’s like a laser.
Jason: Yeah, I mean I always tell people Russell is like no other. He has this inner energy and passion and drive that is extremely rare. Being a professional athlete on the highest, highest level is really hard and every day you have to wake up and do the same thing at extreme high level, no matter what else is going on. And very few athletes are able to do that over a 10 year period. They have to have the same level of pursuit to be the best for that long. And when you compare these top 1.1% and Russell type athletes, it’s really to me other worldly in what they’re able to do without major injury, without exhaustion, without huge performance swings. It takes… I don’t have it. I can tell you that. I know I have days where I’m tired. Even with my kids going home at night. Like it takes this unbelievable focus, drive energy to do that.
Speaker 1: Well, the only way that you’re going to be able to get that energy is to eat as much kale as you can out there, bro. Quinoa.
Z: Quinoa, bro. So is Marshawn, I’m going to play with the Raiders next year. Do we know that?
Speaker 1: Do we know. Can we even talk about that?
Z: Can we talk? Is that, are we going to go there?
Jason: I can’t talk about it and I have no idea.
Speaker 1: Paint him into a corner, Z.
Speaker 1: Okay.
Z: That was aggressive.
Speaker 1: That was aggressive.
Z: That was an aggressive question.
Speaker 1: Now Jason, do you want to take a quick break or do you want me to keep going? Are we getting good?
Jason: Let’s keep going for now.
Speaker 1: Okay. Okay, so, and we’re back. Okay.
Z: He’s got unbelievable energy by the way.
Speaker 1: Unbelievable, yeah. [crosstalk 00:35:59].
Z: It’s doing him good.
Speaker 1: Now, on a very practical level, what does Wasserman do to solve problems for athletes? What kind of problems do you solve? What kind of services do you offer? Tell us about the Wasserman difference.
Jason: Well, I think we tried to do almost anything and everything for them. The classic agent role is negotiating team contracts and marketing deals and commercializing their name and likeness. But we also are essentially a day to day business manager. We support them and their families logistically, so housing, immigration, travel, nutrition. In today’s world we also manage their usage of a new media like social and digital and, and content. We have performance support that we offer, whether it’s a physical therapist on staff or we have a gym in Los Angeles where a lot of our NBA guys train in the off season. I’d say that for us this is a very specialized field. It’s almost like a patent lawyer. To me on the legal side, it’s a very specialized field where we are experts in that field. We have seen a lot of different challenges and outcomes and solutions for athletes and we support them on a high level as they perform with their on-court stuff and their off court stuff and their families.
Z: Jason, you don’t need to tell us what athlete requested this, but what was the craziest thing or kind of the most…
Speaker 1: Here we go again [crosstalk 00:37:34].
Speaker 1: If he hangs up Z.
Z: I know I know. I just hope he doesn’t. But what was the craziest request that an athlete has made like in their contractors or something of that nature?
Jason: Oh man. Contracts. I don’t know if… I mean, it’s interesting. I think you’d be surprised that a lot of our, a lot of the team contracts and even marketing stuff is somewhat system ties. It’s, there’s not too much out of the box you can do other than massive dollars or things that support them in performance or marketing or those kinds of things. So I think you’ve probably heard of a lot of them. You could Google them and look up sweets on the road or hiring friends and family, or covering private jets. Those kinds of things I think are not routine, but I’ve definitely seen some unusual deals that support these, these clients.
Z: And how do you handle that conversation when you’re talking with an athlete who thinks they’re worth X but you think they’re only worth Y?
Speaker 1: Hey Jason, I didn’t really start in high school but I would like 80 million. That’s what I’m like.
Z: And my private jet’s covered.
Speaker 1: I mean how do you have that conversation?
Z: How does that look like?
Jason: Education. I mean you’ve got to educate them on the market and the way it operates. You have to start early and teach them how a system works, whether it’s NBA, MLB, NFL. They all have different salary systems and compensation mechanisms. So the earlier you can start educating them on that process as they enter the draft and then after the draft, as they enter salary, arbitration and baseball for example, or free agency in any sport. And you show them how it works, you show them why the system set up like it is, you show them comparables on performance. So market what we call market comps. And then as you get closer, you show them a landscape. This is what teams X, Y, and Z have on their roster. They have available financially. And from there they should have everything they need to get a better sense of why and how they’re valued. And it’s not me or any other agent telling them this is what you’re worth. It’s now that you know all the facts, what do you think you’re worth? And most of the time they get there on their own. And then it’s about executing on the band of the low end of that range and the high end of that.
Z: But bro, I’m a team player, bro. I’m not out there trying to pat my own stats, bro. I’m just trying to… I’m a team player. Don’t they want a team player on their team man? I’m not out there trying to hog the ball.
Speaker 1: Do you ever have those kinds of conversations, Jason? Have you ever had to have those or is it pretty much just a no, it’s not emotional. It’s pretty just here’s the data, here’s what you’re worth. I mean, is that kind of how it goes?
Jason Ranne: No, it’s definitely emotional, right? That’s where the education comes in and yes, I have those conversations almost every night. My wife hates me for it at times, but after the games finished that’s when all the agents in this company start getting phone calls about how it went or didn’t go or the coach did this or my teammate did this. It’s very commonplace, but that’s where the education goes. If you try to make it opinion based and completely subjective, it’s hard to get to an outcome that both parties agree is fair.
Speaker 1: I want to ask you this because I think this is a business show, see. We talk about business-y kind of things. I think a lot of people aren’t aware of the economics and I’m not asking for your particular cut that your agency makes per athlete or anything like that. I’m just saying on a broad level, just introduced the Thrive Nation to how that works. So let’s say a guy makes $1 million a year, does an agency get 1%? Is it standard 3%? Five? What’s 10? I mean what’s the standard rate that agencies will receive as part of the contract to do all these services that you provide your athletes?
Jason Ranne: It depends on the sport. Each… I would say sticking ball sport, that’s sort of the major U.S. sport has a union and the union regulates the agents. And they set the fee percentages. So for example, major league baseball, it’s usually 5%. In NBA it’s usually 4%. Hockey is 4% so down the line they’re all kind of around that. As far as team contracts go. And if the union changes it, they change it. If they don’t, they don’t. So.
Speaker 1: Now I have three final questions for you and I know that Paul has a question for it. I know that Z does. So I’ll go fast. Rapid fire. So here we go. Is there a book that you would recommend for the listeners out there? You say, hey, you’re coming across as a well-read guy. Is there a certain book that you’d say, hey, this is, this is a book that everybody out there should read that’s maybe impacted you in a positive way?
Jason: I’m sad to say I don’t actually read too many books. I read a lot of news, opinion pieces and research articles and explore online. I like to see where things come from, how they work. I really slowed down in my reading of actual tangible books after law school. But I would say I love entrepreneurial things and I love the simplicity of famous quotes that come from business people, inventors, politicians, activists, coaches. And I also really like podcasts. I like How I Built This podcast. The Southwest airlines one. Herb actually just passed away I think. The Atari Chuck E. Cheese one, which I thought was a fascinating combination. The same guy who invented a tire invented Chuck E. Cheese.
Speaker 1: No way.
Jason: And then… Yep. And then the new [Belgian 00:43:32] brewery were my three favorite from How I Built This podcast.
Speaker 1: I’m going to chase it down Nolan Bushnell right now. If you’re out there Nolan, come to Butthead, come to the… Come to me Nolan. Come to me Nolan. I’m reaching out to Nolan right now. I’m putting it out there and universe. It’s coming back here. Okay. Nolan will be on our show. I can tell. I can feel it, Z. It’s going to happen.
Z: I know you called it out.
Speaker 1: There only so many rejections one can happen before you book Nolan Bushnell. Now my next question is you’re a structured guy lot going on, family. How many kids do you have? How many kids are in the Rainey clan?
Jason Ranne: Two boys.
Speaker 1: Two boys. So what time are you waking up now? Everyday. How do you spend those first four hours of your typical day?
Jason: My kids usually wake up at six and then we try to convince them to stay in their rooms until seven doing something quiet while my wife and I kind of start to get ourselves ready. And then I usually get them out of their rooms at six 45 or seven and make them breakfast, make their lunches on school days, make my lunch. I eat breakfast and then my wife by that time is usually showered and dressed and downstairs and we high five between the kitchen and while I go up and I get dressed and leave and go to work.
Jason: And then she takes care of the rest during the day. I’m pretty fortunate before I come home at night and I hope as best as I can to be home for dinner with them on most nights and read to my kids at around eight before they go to sleep. That’s a important thing for me while they’re at this age and they value those kinds of things. Because I’m sure from everyone I’ve talked to you about the time they’re in middle school and high school, they probably will be hoping that I’m not home at night and they can do whatever they want to do.
Speaker 1: Now I know that you help your clients to get paid and to get good contracts as a result of your big three. You have the intense preparation, you have the experience. You’ve been doing this forever. Your firm has a lot of experience to draw upon. But this third super move that I love is you kind of take the emotion out of it. You know, you’re, you come across as a very stoic guy, which is why I’m a big fan of what you’re doing over there. Can you talk about the importance of bringing kind of a, a lack of emotion and not fanning the flames of people getting emotional? Cause I think in your business if you’re a super emotional, non stoic person, bad things could happen probably very quickly.
Jason Ranne: Yeah, for sure. I think if you are intensely prepared then someone can’t be more prepared than you and you can’t just lose out because you didn’t do the leg work to get there. And if you’ve seen a lot to your experience, then you can’t lose out because you just hadn’t seen something before. I think that emotion piece is the wild card there of if you allow a negotiation to become emotional, you lose focus on what’s objective and rational and all that preparation and that experience that you had before starts to become biased. And that’s where I think your risk an outcome that is emotion based. And ultimately whether you’re, let’s say that you’re not getting the high number you want and you become emotional about it and you walk away and you lose out on that deal and there’s not another one or they’re offering too low and instead of realizing that you’re in a negotiation and the reason they’re low is because you’re in a negotiation and you’re instead insulted by it, you risk really injuring the outcome and your client and that…
Jason: Arn used to say this to me. It was a funny line and I love it and I still use it to this day. He would say, and I’m not saying he was totally unemotional because at times he would get a rather aggressive, but he used to say when people were like, Arn, I’m insulted. He said, I’m insulted that you’re insulted. And that was a great thing that I remember to this day of don’t be emotional. If someone’s insulted, it means that they’re taking this personally and you got to bring them back to, this isn’t personal, we’re just trying to get a deal done.
Speaker 1: I’m insulted that you are insulted. I love that. Andrew get ready for me to drop that on you every day. All day. I was just taking notes here. Why would you say that to me? Paul, what is your final hot question for Mr. Jason Ranne Rainey before we let him get back to his west coast living, his life of kale is life of skinny jeans. Before we let him get back to that, my friend, what’s your final question you have for him.
Paul: Jason. So as a CPA at Hood CPA’s, we, we specialize in helping our clients make good financial decisions. I’m assuming, do you guys have platforms or processes that you help these young athletes that are coming out? And I don’t care whether they’re athletes or not, we don’t teach people how to make good… Young people to make good financial decisions. I’m assuming you guys play a role in that, is that correct? I mean I know it’s their money, but the short lifetime of their careers typically necessitates them saving a significant amount of their money today.
Jason: Yes, we don’t do the financial offerings or the tax offerings here at our agency. We view it as a conflict of interest to have both of that in house and have us as a service provider and also manage their money. So we do often times sit in on meetings. We often get asked for introductions to people that our clients work with. And it is extremely…. If you’re talking about the stool and the legs on the stool that support their career, that financial side of it is as important as the agent side of it. And as important as the performance side of it. And there are many, many horror stories you hear about athletes getting taken advantage of, whether it’s around taxes or investments. In fact, I’m sure you guys read ESPN over the weekend. You would’ve saw Lonzo Ball and his family were taken advantage of by someone around their business when he came out of college, UCLA and was drafted by the Lakers. So it’s just the most recent story, but you know there’s 10 of them a year.
Jason: So yes. And I’ve seen, it’s interesting, most recently I’ve seen more companies come into this space that aren’t trying to represent or advise financially or tax, but are actually just trying to be people who can do some background on the advisors in the space. There’s a company, I’m plugging them now, but not really cause that’s not my intent. But just as an example, there’s a company called bright lights that is founded by a former SEC investigator who now if you call him up and ask him to look into the five financial advisors or accounts that you’re about to meet with to hire, he will look into them and give you a full report and tell you, hey yeah, these are good to go. I don’t think that the everyday person needs that kind of audit or advice to look at who they’re choosing from definitely for these athletes who are easy targets for predators who are trying to take advantage of them. I think it’s an important thing for them to at least consider.
Z: Jason, I’ve got two last hard hitting questions.
Speaker 1: Here we go.
Z: One, we’re down to the final, the Sweet 16 who’s going to win it all? Since you are an expert in the arena?
Speaker 1: Pontificate.
Z: Who’s winning it?
Jason: I like Gonzaga.
Speaker 1: Oh yes.
Z: Now you’re a West coast guy.
Jason: Actually we were just having a discussion, my wife. Is it Gonzaga? Gonzaga? I don’t know what you guys think, but that’s who I like.
Z: And then the other question is, we’re getting ready for the NFL draft. We’ve got… So if you could be an agent for any kid coming out of college football right now and any kid coming out of college basketball, who would be the two you’d grab?
Jason: Oh man.
Z: Come on.
Jason Ranne: That’s a tough one. Football and basketball. So in football because he went to Oklahoma, I think Kyler Murray, that experience of representing him. He may not be the best player in the draft and he may not have the best NFL career of all the guys because there’s very talented players, especially defensively in this year’s draft. But just the experience of going through, hey he was drafted on the baseball side, considered that play, Heisman going into NFL sigh. That’s what I look for in my own personal enjoyment of representing athletes is just the diversity of it. And that’s something that will probably not happen again. I mean it’s going to be very rare in my lifetime to see, a drafted baseball player become a Heisman and then switch over and do the NFL and see how that goes. And then if that doesn’t go well, have the opportunity to then switch back to baseball. That would be fascinating and vert interesting.
Z: That would be pretty cool. That’s a good answer. Now how about on the basketball side?
Jason: You know, that’s a tougher conversation I think for me. Because we’re in that business and I’m personally in that business, so I probably prefer not to answer that one.
Speaker 1: Yeah. Yeah. Let me do this. Let me do this. Let me real quick. Let me translate. Z. Z. No. No. No. Jason Ranne has a list of people that he’s going after. He has got some great people and who are we to paint you into a corner on this fantastic show. We need to hang up on ourselves. Jason, I appreciate you so much for being on the show, for really setting an example for so many people and for kind of demystifying the path of becoming a professional sports agent.
Z: Yeah. And he’s a home guy that’s done awesome. That’s what’s so fun. I love seeing…
Speaker 1: He’s an Oklahoman.
Z: Yeah, he’s a [Dosen 00:53:05].
Paul: And he’s told you that there’s a chance.
Z: And he said to quote me. There’s a chance I got to work on my core. I’ll get my list of things I got to work on.
Paul: One legged jumping. [crosstalk 00:53:15]
Speaker 1: I hacked into Jason’s computer Z, and you’re at the top of his do not draft list. He says this 54 year old optometrist…
Z: I’m coming after him I wanted to sign him.
Speaker 1: He’s an undiscovered jewel.
Z: He’s buried deep.
Speaker 1: Well, Jason, I appreciate you so much my friend and I hope you have a blessed day.
Jason Ranne: Thank you.
Z: Thanks for being on the show buddy. Hey dudes, why can we talk more about Wasserman?
Speaker 1: If you are out there today and you’re saying, how can I implement what I’ve learned today, how can I apply what I’ve learned? I believe the core message that I picked up on today’s show and just having interviewed Jason Ranne and then having known a person who knows him very, very well, coach Calvert, who was one of his coaches as he was gaining skills in the game of basketball.
Speaker 1: Jason Ranne Rainey above all else is a very diligent person. He’s a very diligent person. Well, diligence means the steady application of effort. So I would ask you to rate yourself on a scale of one to 10 today in the area of diligence. If diligence is you… If a 10 means that you always do what you’re supposed to do, even when you don’t feel like it, if you always work hard, even when you don’t feel like it, if you always do what you’re supposed to do, even on the sick days, that would be a 10.
Speaker 1: Now, if you’re somebody who only works hard on the days where you feel good, that would be a zero I’d encourage you to rate yourself on the diligence scale because I believe in you, but nothing works unless you do. My friend Maya Angelou, the bestselling author, the poet, the actress, she said, nothing works unless you do. And my question I’d have for you today is, are you working as unto the Lord? Are you putting forth your best effort on a daily basis? And if that’s the case, then you’re going to do fine. But if not, nothing works. And without any further ado, three, two, one. Boom.
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