I had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up—even when I left HBS—so the new small business consulting arm of Arthur Andersen seemed like a good place to find out. I was kind of miserable there. But after about a year and a half, I got an offer from a husband and wife who had started the first basketball camp for girls, ever, in the Pocono Mountains.
They wanted to build the sport by approaching sponsors to support women’s basketball in the few forums it had at the time. I was a big sports fan, but I knew nothing about women playing basketball.
The company did succeed in staging a number of events relating to women’s basketball. Then a team from France asked us for someone who could play in their league. And then a team from Spain asked the same thing. That’s how I became an agent.
• Levy on how women’s basketball conquered Europe on the Skydeck podcast
If you sent a 6-foot-3-inch American who was the best player a city had ever seen, it was a real attraction. People all of a sudden said, “Wow, this is fun to watch.” Women’s professional basketball took off overseas long before it was popular in the United States.
Imagine if you’re an African American player who has never left Louisiana, and all of a sudden you find yourself in Japan. I realized very early on the importance of educating the team on how to best employ the player, and from the player’s standpoint, how to provide a good cultural education.
the average annual salary for a wnba player is $60,000 to $70,000. I signed a contract recently for a player who will make more in a month overseas than she gets in the WNBA for an entire season. Now how do you explain that?
Conflict is the dominant characteristic of my work. If there was no conflict, it would be like a doctor not having sick patients or a firefighter not having any fires to put out. So you deal with it.
Player skills, competition, and coaching in the WNBA is getting better and better every year. Now women in college realize there’s a career opportunity in basketball. Have you been to a WNBA game? Shame on you.
I was an idealist when I came to HBS, though I can’t say I was confident I could do anything. But when I left, I felt I could create my own job. As crazy as it sounds, who ever thought I would have a career representing women basketball players? Anything is possible, it really is.
Class of MBA 1977, Section D