Watch Listen Up: Deshaun Harris, CEO of Intrusive Sports Agency Talks About His Basketball Journey

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Video Transcript Below 

Bailey Right. Okay.

There we go. Hello everyone. And welcome back to our digital content here at stack sports. And this is an interview series called listen up where we speak with various people in the sports community and learn more about their career path as always. We're your hosts. He is Tyrese boon checking in from Beaumont sexist, hopefully, a little bit warmer than the past few weeks, Beaumont, Texas, and as always on Bailey or Dondo from Monterey California. And today we have a very special edition of listen up and we're bringing on a certified agent from the national basketball players association and now CEO of intrusive sports agency, Deshaun Harris, Deshaun. We appreciate you taking the time today.

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Tyrese and Bailey are joined by NBPA Agent and CEO of Intrusive Sports Agency, Deshaun Harris, for this episode of Listen Up. They ask Deshaun about his basketball journey and how his background and perseveration got him to where he is today. Deshaun adds what values he prioritizes in his work and how important client relationships are. Listen Up!

Video Transcript Below 

Bailey
Right. Okay.

There we go. Hello everyone. And welcome back to our digital content here at stack sports. And this is an interview series called listen up where we speak with various people in the sports community and learn more about their career path as always. We're your hosts. He is Tyrese boon checking in from Beaumont sexist, hopefully, a little bit warmer than the past few weeks, Beaumont, Texas, and as always on Bailey or Dondo from Monterey California. And today we have a very special edition of listen up and we're bringing on a certified agent from the national basketball players association and now CEO of intrusive sports agency, Deshaun Harris, Deshaun. We appreciate you taking the time today.

Deshaun Harris:
Hey, I'm excited to be on with you guys. Um, two legends in the making, so I'm excited. Let's go. Let's get to it. Let's get to it.

Tyrese:
All right, man. Let's start off man. First question. So how are you doing, how with the pandemic going on, man, how's your business going? And um, just how you've been working with your clients. How's it been going with?

Deshaun:
Couldn't be more blessed. Um, as, as you know, we live in a world with instantaneous communication, so really just utilizing it to our, to our advantage, uh, playing to our strengths, making sure that we don't leave any stone unturned and constantly communicating with our players. Um, constantly, constantly exploring possible opportunities, but first ensuring that everyone has safe sound and happy. Um, and, and just making sure we're communicating at all times. So really just using our instantaneous communication to our advantage. Nevertheless, so blessed to have health. And I just want to say to everyone that has lost someone over the last year or so, um, our partners are going out to you. We understand the difficulty as far as the pandemic. We'll also, um, the social issues that, that continue to happen within our country and throughout other countries. And, um, our, our thoughts and prayers are with everyone going through something, whether it's mental health, physical health, or, uh, social-cultural health. So

Bailey:
Take us back to how basketball started to play a bigger role in your life. Did you have anyone that you looked up to growing up in the basketball world?

Deshaun:
That's a great question because the person I looked up to when, and continue to look up to as my father, um, I, it seems like my introduction to basketball has always been seamless because there's always been basketball around. Um, my father was able to play at the collegiate level, but he, uh, decided to go into the Marines. Um, he moved to California and was able to meet my beautiful mother and they had us, uh, throughout the nineties. I was born in 96. So, um, and, and about early two-thousands, my father started a nonprofit within the inland empire California area that served a hundred, uh, certain over 100 student-athletes and helping them pursue their careers, uh, within basketball and other sports. So his trade-off to them was basically, Hey, um, I'll provide an opportunity to you within basketball if you provide us with good grades.

Deshaun:
So he was able to finance and, and help out a lot of students, uh, that were underserved within our communities. So that was my first introduction to basketball itself, especially travel basketball. So seeing those students come from communities that would often give them a chance and use basketball as a gateway to something more in their future was enlightening for me. Um, after that, my dad kind of, uh, continued to play a big factor within the basketball community, becoming a coach. And now he's a Dean of athletics at a university in, uh, an Irvine called Westcliff university, but also him, you know, him, him placing the ball within my hands and, and me having, uh, a high school career, but nothing after that. Um, and seeing my own other family members do their thing within basketball. Whereas, whereas my little brother, um, eventually coming to high high school basketball prospect and, uh, him being off at Gonzaga right now and, and others, um, it's, it's been a beautiful thing. So I would say just my family and, um, my dad is the, the answer to be short

Tyrese:
Man. That's awesome, man. I can definitely agree. You know, I count from a, you know, a household, you know, with my POS being in the army, you know, as well being armed forces, you know, so he definitely raised us to, you know, you know, be athletic, you know, be in sports and things of that nature. So I definitely can see where you're coming from with that. And since we're talking about, you know, your origin of, you know, with you being the sports, you decided to become a basketball agent, NBA agent, so, or the qualifications of becoming an NBA agent, how does that work? And, how did you go about it?

Deshaun:
Yeah, so, kind of moving on the timeline a little bit further after, um, after my father and our, our family's nonprofit continued, I, uh, was able to play high school basketball, but there was about three pivotal years that, uh, really decided what was the deciding factor in me wanting to become an agent. So after seeing my brothers, essentially within the space as a freshman and sophomore at that time becoming a top player in the country, um, and myself working basketball tournaments here and there, and being a fixture within the basketball community, whether it's, uh, through directors, uh, players alike and others, I eventually was able to, I would say intern for a national world, basketball trainer, a close family friend, uh, Rico Heins. So every summer, um, there's the Ricoh Heins runs the EMF infamous Rico, hind runs at UCLA. And basically, every day is an all-star game for the most part to put it simply.

Deshaun:
Throughout those two years, Oh, and, and the, the opportunity that Rico gave me to be on the court and see players play at a high level, but also the business aspect of basketball, um, and the social aspect of basketball and what may be lacking, um, all between them, uh, really gave me a basis that, Hey, there's something that needs to be done within this space, as far as providing a clear point of representation for players, um, a, a cleaner point of representation for players and one that reflected, the players backgrounds and, and in communities that they're brought up in. So I kind of saw a niche there and with me being young and, but also being able to relate to players from a social-cultural standpoint, um, and that being lacking within MBPA itself, I decided, Hey, I really want to make some change. Um, so what it takes to become a certified agent is you need an undergraduate degree and, um, you basically need to know the collective bargaining agreement, which is the basis of, uh, operations within the MBA. So I don't know if I answered your question

Bailey:
Now. That was the perfect answer for sure. What now I'm curious about what went into the decision for you to start something of your own, essentially bet on yourself after college, and not try to join another agency.

Deshaun:
I was fortunate to graduate from UCS, uh, early. I came in a, as a transfer. So, uh, I originally started at community college. Um, I came out of high school, didn't get into the universities. I wanted to, I was able to do two years in one at a university about 64 units in a year, transferred to University of California, San Diego, and do two years there. Um, but I, I had that extra year to kind of like, Hey, I graduated early, what do I do? So I decided to get my master's, within that year, I got it from Cal Baptist University and communications. And, um, just thinking about the basis and the fundamental elements of me as a human being. So for me, seeing an understanding of generational and incestual sacrifice internally and externally has led me to two words that I live bought its purpose and obligation.

Deshaun:
Resonating and witnessing underserved and underrepresented individuals within our space and the communities around it has gotten me to a life of servitude. Um, and in ways, if you think about it now, agents are the perfect service for athletes and, and business businesses and, and business professionals and, um, athlete professionals as I like to call them. Um, so from professionally to personally, I've set out to use, you know, my, those two words to my advantage, but also to implement them in everything I do. When I saw the glaring inequity within the sports world, um, and after interviewing for, uh, two of the top three sports agencies or the larger agencies within our business, I realized that I couldn't get to that goal as quickly as I wanted to because, um, one, there's only 186 certified black agents within this space, um, out of 400, 440, um, and only 7.5, 9% of them even represent athletes that look like that.

Deshaun:
Oftentimes it's not a sole representation or a point of decision where I'm an athlete or a representative who clearly reflects the communities and the social-cultural lifestyle and understanding of these athletes can have, um, decision-making, that's impactful within their day-to-day lives. So when I realized that, and I, and when I realized that I couldn't get to that goal as quickly as possible, I decided why not take ownership in my own hands, um, and not only implement a system that can create true change, um, and not only sports, but academia and society, a light, but that can educate, empower and Edify, um, athletes. And that was, I was kind of the basis of starting my own agency and really inviting others within the agency to do some of themselves, um, and implement their own dreams and hopes of, uh, you know, uh, equality and, and really empowerment to all, to all athletes. So,

Tyrese:
Well, I want to say congratulations on, you know, you and your business and what you able to accomplish so far to Sean man, Mike, especially as what you said with, with the lack of, black, especially black, agents in this business, you know, um, there's not that many, so, you know, just for you to be, take the initiative and start your own business, I know it's tough and I know it's rough, but I know you had your own trials and tribulations on, you know, contact and players and getting business off the ground. So how does the whole conversation between you and players start, do you reach out to them? Do they reach out to you? Who contacts, who first,

Deshaun:
You know, Tyrese, I've been very fortunate because I've grown up in this space. I've grown up in this space. Not only has my father had been a fixture within the space and the basketball community, uh, but my brother was also fortunate a top 100 basketball player. So a lot, a lot of my relationships are true. They're genuine and they're built over time. Um, so, uh, a lot of them are, are, are families that have experienced the same thing as me, the same things as me, or have witnessed, um, things like. So I'm not only coming from an agent's perspective, but I'm truly coming from a brother, a brother perspective, a family member's perspective and, and someone who's seen the in and outs of this game, um, from a, from a personal and social standpoint. So with that being said, I'm thankful for those relationships, but oftentimes it's not.

Deshaun:
I mean, there, there are a lot of cold calls and, and relationships that still need to be built, but I've had the fortune of having organic relationships with people in this space and, and, uh, families that are ascending within the space and in want to be involved professionally, whether that be in the NBA or overseas, um, or within the women's space or, um, or in the G League. So all the way around, I'm just fortunate to have organic relationships with, with true and real people, um, within this space without having to weasel my way around or, or, um, interject in a, in a negative way. So would that being said, if there, if there, if there are any new people that I do reach out to, um, it's, it's, it's usually through commonality or someone that I already know within the space. Fortunately.

Bailey:
Now Deshaun, I'm curious about, what do you look for in signing clients? I think younger basketball, specifically high school and college, there's so much more popular now with social media. I mean, we just saw top-class come out on Amazon prime with the whole documentary on Sierra Canyon and just the exposure that these young athletes are getting is incredible. And I think that could be a good and bad thing. Are there any specific traits that you look for signing certain clients, or do you spend time, uh, watching highlight reels or checking in with them on their social media? How does that process go?

Deshaun:
Bailey, it's funny that you mentioned top class, great production by I am, I am DB. Uh, my brother was actually featured in it. Uh, the Rancho Christians here get Sierra Canyon games. Uh, Oh, that's right. Those are, those are great battles. Those are great battles. I love the, I love the platform that they gave Sierra Canyon. To answer your question, I truly look for a great human meaning, um, the agreement being that, that, that that's all that matters. Someone who cares about the progression of themselves, the progression that people and, um, the progression of, of them as an athlete. So who's a hundred percent committing to being the best version of themselves as a, as not only an athlete, but, uh, a brother, sister, cousin, uh, et cetera. So I think that's my, that's my biggest and main qualification. Um, one, do you hold yourself accountable to grow a, as an athlete, but also as a person?

Tyrese:
Great answers, man. Great answers. I definitely agree with those statements. Definitely want those types of players, you know, in your corner, especially, you know, especially as clients, you know, you definitely want somebody that has the same drive as you and your business and, um, you know, you represent each other equally in the same way, because not only are we recruiting them, they're recruiting nuts. So we have to be up uphold. We have to hold ourselves to the same standards, you know, that, that, that there, that we required. So, um, and, and, and like they say iron sharpens iron, and, um, no matter how old it is, it's still hiring at the end of the day. So as long as we're looking to stay sharp, then, then we're all going to be successful.

Tyrese:
Great words, man. Great word and I can definitely tell you that. Um, I can definitely see that, you know, you were very, um, very people's person. Um, I can see why a lot of clients, uh, you know, definitely, um, want to work with you and, you know, just by this, by, you know, you're just, like I said, the initiative to have you say until, you know, for you to have your own business, you know, you're taking your own initiative to work with these guys, you know, they, they, you show, you know, all the capabilities of you becoming a great agent in this business, with that being said with your business or with you being an agent, what's been the best part of it so far. I know you probably travel. I know you met a lot of people, as you said, networking, you know, talking to new people, maybe players, coaches, but what has been the best part of being an agent for you first?

Deshaun:
Thank you. Thank you for the wise words and the kind words. Um, I would say there have been two great parts of it. Uh, first is seeing families and, um, uh, athletes in the business professionals and athlete professionals realize their dreams and goals and achieve them. That's, that's the most important, rewarding part at the end of the day, seeing someone sacrifice and go through the Hills and valleys to eventually reach the mountain top. And secondly, it's really just being in the gym, being in the gym with, with, uh, with everyone, like, like I said, I'm 24 years old. I'm 24 years old. I've been around the game. I've I play the game to a decent extent, but I stay in the gym with my players. I stay in the gym, everybody, if, um, throughout the summer, we're up at 5:00 AM getting it in, in the gym, I'm there with them catching balls. Um, there's nothing like that, that grind that and doing it together with somebody and then gets into that journey at the end of the day and, and, and then being successful. So I would say those are, those are the two parts then them being successful, but also that grind, that everyday grind being there together, seeing the, seeing the blood, sweat, and tears that they're putting out every day and then just being a part of it, you know.

Bailey:
Deshaun, what makes a great agent, has there been someone you met in this industry that had certain qualities that stood out to you where you look at them and say, wow, that that's a great agent right there.

Deshaun:
You know, I am. I think, I think that could be an ambiguous, ambiguous question in a way because I think everyone has their own answer. So I can't, I would say a great agent is one who is determined to uplifting the game to uplifting whatever, whatever sport they're, they're participating in to truly uplifting it and making sure they're doing it with morals values and, um, those who push diversity and inclusion, and those who are committed to, to really ensuring that everyone is becoming a human, being a better human being at the end of the day. So I've definitely had, um, great conversations with other agents. Uh, I definitely respect everything that they're doing in the space. Um, and I just look forward to collaborating with, anyone along the way, and seeing them succeed as well as myself. So I'm, I'm, I'm really ruined for, um, the success of, of all agents, but I would love to see, um, more, more agents that look like our athletes come up and, uh, and implement themselves within the game and, and collaborate with RDS that was agents as well. So to answer your question, no one is knowing and specific, but I'm just excited about those who uplift the game and those who promote diversity inclusion along the way.

Tyrese:
And once again, great answers, man, especially like you said, we're all in this together on what you definitely want to see. A lot more of, as I said, a lot more people of color, um, and you're in this business, especially in sports business, um, not just athletes, but journalists, agents, doctors, and more people as well. But, um, continuing with, um, you know, with you being the agent, as you say, you just mentioned all those things and Bailey peeing off back on, um, what Bailey said, what are some do's and don'ts for any young and upcoming people just as us, you know, just as you know, just as I mentioned, I'm 22 years old, I believe you and Bailey are 24. Can you give any advice to any young and upcoming agents on some do's and don'ts of this business and how can they be successful?

Deshaun:
I would say the biggest dues, um, and this is something that we're all constantly going through, right. Is, uh, sacrifice hold yourself accountable. Um, but also I think the man greatness out of yourself really really know that age is, is no true correlation for how successful you can be, but the progression is the main barometer. Um, and I would say for a lot of athletes, just to keep the main thing, the main thing, because at the end of the day, if you're successful in your sport, um, everything is everything's going to come after that. So if you're a winner and, um, you PR you promote, you promote winning and you, and you contribute to winning, uh, either, either individually or within a team environment, then the Duso, um, I would say some don'ts is, is really just really, really don't allow anyone in your circle, um, that doesn't reflect your, your, your morals and values. Don't be deterred by, anyone that doesn't reflect your morals and values. Don't collaborate with anyone that doesn't reflect your more than values. And, um, always be creative, always be creative, I think is another dude. But I think that's the biggest, don't really just don't, don't sell yourself short, be all. You can be, be all you can be in this business. Um, and, and don't settle.

Tyrese:
This conversation has been so refreshing for me. I don't know why. I just, I feel like a breath of fresh air. And, Deshaun, I just love what you said in the beginning about your two most important words is purpose and obligation. I think that really goes a long way, not just in sports agencies, but just in life. Just having that purpose within you and understanding who you are and what you do. The amount of passion you have for this business is exemplified in your work. And I do hope others that watch this understand, uh, a lot of what you said, and it drives home the point. Uh, there needs to be more diversity in these agencies because it's mainly represented in the athlete. So I, I completely agree with that and I want to make sure our audience checks out intrusive sports on socials, Instagram, Twitter, and Deshaun. I really appreciate you taking the time today.

Deshaun:
Appreciate it, both of y'all. And I'm so excited for your guys' future within this business. Like you said, Bailey and Anton Greece, we're a community. And as far as everyone goes, uh, as far as the PR, as far as our collective progression goes, so we can only, we can, our job is solely to continue the, the sacrifices that the generation before has had, um, whether it's journalists or athletes alike, we have a job to, to, to leave behind something valuable and the people that come behind us. And, um, I think that's what we're doing.


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