Thriving in a Male-Dominated Industry: Danielle Cantor Became a Star NBA Agent by Honoring Relationships
How did NBA agent Danielle Cantor negotiate the largest guaranteed sports contract by a female agent in history? By seeing everyone around her—the clients, players, team owners, managers—as people. And by being disciplined. When she was a kid, she saw the power of getting 100 touches on the soccer ball everyday, which taught her the power of focusing on “the things I could control...if I focused on the controllables, I would get better.” One of the things Danielle can control is how she relates to people, and in her industry, nothing matters more. She makes a point of getting to know the people she works with as holistically as possible, especially the young NBA talent that’s looking for someone to represent them who truly cares. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons athletes seek her out. Danielle sits down with Erica to share how her strong sense of self-motivation paired with her care for her clients has enabled her to thrive in an incredibly male-dominated industry—professional sports.
4:53 – On the discipline of getting 100 touches on the soccer ball everyday as a kid: “At a young age—I didn’t know then—but what it taught me was the things I could control. if I focused on the controllables, I would get better. And I would not focus on what other people around me were doing, how many touches they were getting, but I would focus on what I could do.”
8:09 – On relationships being her biggest asset as an agent: “The biggest value I add to a new athlete I may sign is my relationships with key decision makers in our industry. And I’ve invested in those and maintained those over long periods of time because I actually care about the people.”
11:03 – On remembering the details to show you care: “The people I’m dealing with now—general managers, team owners—I know their kids, their kids’ names, some of their kids’ birthdays. That just shows, ‘Hey, I care about you as a person.’”
15:57 – On a holistic approach to the client-agent relationship: “Everything about what I do in business—I have this unwavering commitment to understanding…my client in a holistic way, as an individual. That is, for me, the most important and best part of my job.”
28:33 – “I always tell my clients, ‘Whatever you’re going to put out on social media must be authentically you.'”