SBJ/June 12 - 18, 2006/Labor Agents

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  • Italian NBA prospect Bargnani picks Rose for representation

    Top NBA draft prospect Andrea Bargnani has selected Leon Rose as his American agent.

    Rose confirmed the signing in a phone call from Italy, where he was watching Bargnani, a 20-year-old, 6-11 Italian, compete in the Italian league’s semifinals for Benetton Treviso. If the team makes it to the finals, and the finals go the full five games, Bargnani might not be able to come to the United States until after June 22. The NBA draft is June 28.

    Andrea Bargnani (left) signed with Leon Rose,
    the agent for LeBron James and Allen Iverson.
    Rose will work with Antonio “Toto” Ricciotti, Bargnani’s Italian agent, in negotiating Bargnani’s contracts, both with his NBA team and for marketing deals. Some of the top NBA player agents in the United States tried to sign Bargnani, whom some prognosticators predict could be the No. 1 selection in this month’s draft.

    As for why he picked Rose, Ricciotti said, “The representation business is the same in Italy as it is in the United States. It’s a matter of gut feelings. So Andrea went with his gut feeling.”

    Another factor, Ricciotti said, was that Rose “doesn’t have a lot of players, and he can give a lot of attention to Andrea. He wants to do well once he lands in the States.”

    Rose represents only 11 NBA players, but the list is impressive, including Le-Bron James, Allen Iverson and Richard Hamilton.

    Agents say this NBA draft is up in the air, with no consensus No. 1 pick. There is a consensus, though, that Bargnani will be the highest-drafted Italian player ever.

    “He is going to be the first Italian player drafted very high in the draft, and they are making some comparisons to some very good players,” Rose said. “He is an extremely skilled big man who can shoot it and pass it.”

    SFX SIGNS QUERREY:
    SFX Sports signed Sam Querrey, an 18-year-old, 6-6 tennis player from California.

    Some people in the tennis world have speculated that Querrey could be the best male American prospect since Andy Roddick. While there’s no way to tell how good he can be on the court, the recruiting battle between the top tennis representation firms was as hard-fought as the one for Roddick, said Colin Smeeton, the SFX Tennis agent who will serve as Querrey’s primary agent.

    “He has definitely set himself apart as the best American of his generation,” Smeeton said. “He has two wins over top 100 players. He is 6-foot-6 and he serves at 140 miles per hour. You have to have weapons to compete at the pro level. Sam has those weapons.”

    Smeeton, who also represents Justine Henin-Hardenne and Paradorn Srichaphan, was at the French Open last week, where he said he was getting interest from shoe, apparel and racket companies about signing Querrey to endorsement deals.

    Querrey now wears Adidas clothing and shoes and plays with a Prince racket.

    Contact Liz Mullen at lmullen@sportsbusinessjournal.com.

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