We first visited CAA. The agency was one of the places I was really looking forward to because I’m interested in being a sport agent. It was great getting some insight into the business when speaking with Nez Balelo and Matt, his assistant. Nez is representing about 7 MLB players and works 24/7, 365 and barely gets sleep some nights. His main message to us seemed to be that you always have to work harder than your competition and be creative. I really enjoyed the q and a with me, especially because the group asked great questions.
Next stop was NASCAR. Although I do not know much about the sport, Phil Metz really provided a totally different outlook on it. He introduced me and many others of the group to the pop culture aspect of NASCAR, in which his job is to merge the two together for prior and new fans. The footage he showed us of current and upcoming advertising spots for NASCAR was great. His presentation to us has actually made me want to become more aware of NASCAR’s efforts as far as pop culture goes.
Then there was the beautiful campus of UCLA. I was really blown away by its athletic history. Coach Wooden’s story was amazing and the presentation by Keith Erickson was greatly appreciated. The opportunity to get an in-depth look at Woodson’s life and coach career through the video and his former player, Erickson, really connected with me. After touring UCLA, I don’t think I will ever forget about Woodson’s success and the emphasis on his triangle of success. Also, the newly renovated Pauly Pavilion was incredible and the infrastructure definitely was worth the millions put into it.
Lastly, was the LA KINGS GAME. This was my first time actually at a professional hockey game. One word to describe it is AWESOME! I had a great time and I’m really happy the Kings won. Actually, going to the game has made me want to follow the sport more because, after all, it is very exciting and intense. I love the fact that I saw a good amount of woman in the audience which shows that the demographics for hockey in LA is not primarily for men.
In essence, this day was eventful and very informative. The more places I visit on this trip, the more I start to think about the many different career paths that I wouldn’t have normally thought about.
Today we met with Keith Erickson, a 2 time NCAA National Champion under John Wooden and the UCLA Bruins. He talked about John Wooden and his three years as one of his players. He spoke about John Wooden as a coach, but he was more then just a coach. He was a mentor and a role model to all of his players. He was more then just the 10 National Championships that he won. He touched the lives of every person that came into contact with him. I could tell from the way that Keith was talking about Coach Wooden that he had the highest respect for the coach on and especially off the court. I think what really got me was how he spoke about Wooden when he wasn’t playing for him anymore and how they would talk often. I always learned about John Wooden the coach and all of his records and statistics, but to learn about the man behind all of these championships was incredible. Anyone who came in contact with him respected him like another father figure and it was amazing to see the effect he had on people. I can only hope that I have that effect on half as many people.
We started our day bright and early at 8:45 a.m. We made our way to 2000 Avenue of Stars, where the Creative Artists Agency is located. Before we got started, we supposedly experienced a 4.7 magnitude earthquake that not one person in our group felt. We met with one of baseball’s premier agents Nez Balelo, where we had an amazing experience learning from Mr. Balelo about how he got his start as an agent and his life story. Mr. Balelo was unbelievable; he went overtime with us answering every question thrown at him. He told us about his life growing up near San Diego, that he played Baseball at Pepperdine University, in the Seattle Mariners system and overseas in China. He told us that he created the West Coast Baseball School where he trained players such as Mike Nickeas who he now represents. Everyone had an amazing time learning the stressful life of an agent. We learned what it was like to deal with the free agency, trades, dealing with the allegations against Ryan Braun and what it is like competing for these top athletes against other agents. Not only did he teach us about being an agent, Mr. Balelo gave us great insight on how to succeed and what we must do to get jobs such as the one he holds. Like what we were told at the Toshiba Classic yesterday, by Mr. Purser and what we were told later that afternoon at UCLA, by Keith Erickson, the only way to succeed in life is if you put the effort in. Do not take shortcuts, and take advantages when the opportunities present themselves.
Next we made our way over to the building next door where we met with the Director of Entertainment Marketing and Talent Relations for NASCAR, and Syracuse University alumni, Phil Metz. Here we learned all about the NASCAR. Mr. Metz gave us information on the fans of NASCAR, who they target as an audience, who they want to bring into the industry and so much more. He showed us commercials that were coming out soon and really made the kids in the group who weren’t that interested in NASCAR interested. Mr. Metz told us how he booked artists like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kid Rock and Lenny Kravitz for concerts at events such as the Daytona 500. We learned all about the different tracks who owns them and how the rules and laws of NASCAR really work.
After we finished up at NASCAR we made our way over to UCLA. We had lunch at the student center and then our great tour guide Bill Bennett brought us over to the John Wooden Hall of Fame, where we met all-star athlete and NBA champion Keith Erickson. At the Hall of Fame, Mr. Erickson told us everything about John Wooden, what he was like, how he coached and how much of an amazing person he truly was. Mr. Erickson told us so many remarkable stories about Bill Walton, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and all the other stars that were coached by John Wooden. We learned so much about John Wooden that no one in our group knew, and Mr. Erickson answered so many questions about his career in college, in the Olympics and as a broadcaster. He told us what John Wooden taught him and his teammates, all about his pyramid, and his famous inspiring quotes. John Wooden said that, “Keith Erickson was the greatest athlete he had ever coached” and Mr. Erickson said that “John Wooden is the finest man he had ever met and the greatest coach he had ever had.” After the Hall of Fame, we saw the beautiful campus and the beautiful, state of the art Pauly Pavilion.
Finally to cap off this tremendous day we finished off the night at the Staples Center for a Los Angeles Kings game against the Calgary Flames. We had great seats and saw a great 3-1 win by the Kings. Everyone had an amazing time at the game and the whole day was really amazing and we all look forward to the rest of the trip.