There’s a new player in town in the Sports Nation arena.
Even as Jay Z and his Roc Nation Sports empire continue to prosperously carve out its own niche in the sports agency biz, now comes Birdman and Cash Money Sports, open for business and on the come-up by virtue of its signing of surefire first-round NFL draft pick Mike Evans.
Several media outlets report Lil Wayne’s right hand man has inked Johnny Manziel’s equivalent and former Texas A&M top receiver to a representation deal and the Heisman Trophy winning Manziel himself could be on deck.
The 6-foot-5, 231 pound, ever-versatile Evans thought long and hard, even initially rendering his Hancock with another agency, before settling with Cash Money and giving the still building operation the kind of overnight credibility money simply can’t buy.
Besides Birdman, Cash Money is run by his brother, Ronald “Slim” Williams, the same sibling duo that created the now wildly successful label Cash Money Records, home of such A-list performers as Wayne, Drake and Nicki Minaj.
It’s no secret Evans is to Manziel what Wayne is to Birdman, begging the question of how long it might be before all of them are under the same tent and in biz together. Reports are Cash Money Sports will also have a working relationship with Priority Sports, whom Evans is also aligned with, similar to the arrangement Roc Nation has with CAA.
Indeed, swag and the “it factor” have never been more pronounced as it relates to the sports repping business. Since officially opening its doors less than a year ago, Jay Z and Roc Nation have already landed such high-profile clients as Kevin Durant, CC Sabathia, Geno Smith, Victor Cruz, Robinson Cano and Skylar Diggins.
The NBA’s leading scorer and a prime MVP candidate, Durant recently told ESPN he felt it was “go time” in deciding to align himself with Roc Nation. The 25-year-old All-Star forward, who already has endorsement deals with Nike, Sprint, Gatorade, BBVA Compass and 2K Sports, also boldly professes his love of music and his talent for producing beats, all of which went into making his career-altering decision.
In short, Roc Nation and now even Cash Money seem to offer potential clients a clear path to off-court dreams few other agencies seem to even envision, let alone map a course for achieving.
“Music has always been a big part of my life,” the man OKC teammate Russell Westbrook calls the best rapper on the team has said and soon reaffirmed after signing with Roc Nation. “It’s kind of like a refuge for me. I just use it to get away. I want to be like a producer and engineer. I want to have artists, a label, something like that.”
It’s not known if Evans has those same sort of second-career pipedreams, but then again Jay and Birdman are also known as some of the game’s best marketers and self-promoters, and Evans already seems to be skilled at the game.
“There’s a lot of great receivers in this draft,” said Evans. “Don’t get me wrong, but I feel I’m the best one. I get a lot of Vincent Jackson comparisons. That’s a great comparison, but I think Brandon Marshall. He’s vicious after the catch, big receiver who can go up and get it, catch it real well.”
Somewhere, Birdman and his Cash Money posse are smiling.