Ed Pilot is a successful immigration lawyer helping hundreds gain American citizenship. 2UrbanGirls had the opportunity to sit down with Pilot on his journey to become an NBA agent. A task he accomplished in January of this year
Talk to us about why you went into the profession of helping immigrants gain their citizenship?
I understand and appreciate the contributions which generations upon generations of immigrants have made to the USA. Unless you are of Native American Indian descent, your family arrived here – either voluntarily or involuntarily. My family sought refuge from Czarist Russia. Initially, they struggled and later received assistance from some Good Samaritans.
So I am doing my best to “pay it forward” by assisting the current generation of immigrations in pursuing their dreams. I find it extremely rewarding that I am able to represent wonderful individuals and families from diverse backgrounds and experiences, throughout the USA. In several instances people who were initially clients have become life-long friends.
What skills do you find necessary to be effective in your business?
I must have an in-depth knowledge of the applicable laws and keep up to speed with the ever-changing rules and regulations imposed by the current administration. I also must be a good listener, empathetic, work hard, be creative with respect to the strategy and arguments available to my clients, think “outside the box”, instill confidence in my clients, be relentless, and have a don’t quit, never give up attitude. It is essential that I have an understanding of the current conditions which exist in my clients’ countries of origin, whether that be in the African Continent, the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, South America, Europe or Asia. It is most helpful that I am proficient in the Spanish Language, especially considering that my law firm is based in Southern California.
You are now transitioning into the wacky world of sports, becoming a certified NBA agent. There was a lot of controversy surrounding new rules to becoming an agent. Based on your professional experience, and having become certified, are the new rules justified?
The new rules pertain to those National Basketball Players Association Certified Player Agents who also wish to become NCAA Certified Agents. These rules require: a Bachelor’s Degree and/or current certification and good standing with the NBPA for a minimum of 3 years; professional liability insurance; and to pass the NCAA qualification exam.
Rich Paul is Exhibit A as to why these new rules are not justified. The haters may argue that he has only achieved success because of his friendship with LeBron James. However, if he did not have the necessary knowledge and skills to properly represent a superstar of LeBron’s stature, I seriously doubt he would still be LeBron’s agent, not to mention the agent for 22 other high level NBA players. Plenty of former certified agents without Bachelor’s Degrees have provided less than stellar representation for their clients and/or have regrettably stolen money from them.
What inspired you to take on that new challenge?
My inspiration to become a NBPA Certified Player Agent stems from: my everlasting love of the game of basketball; my son’s and daughter’s participation in competitive basketball; coaching my son’s middle school basketball team; confidence that the knowledge I gained and the skills I developed as a Lawyer, Negotiator, Mediator and Arbitrator over the past 3 decades will enable my professional basketball player clients to achieve the maximum possible benefits which they have earned as a result of their years of hard work and dedication to their craft; and my experience as an immigration lawyer will benefit my clients who were born outside of the USA and who desire to compete in the NBA.
You are very involved in youth athletics, particularly in the city of Inglewood with the City Stars AAU program, being a hands on parent in your children’s sports activities, with your busy schedule, how did you find the time?
Finding time in life is a matter of establishing and adhering to one’s priorities. My children have always been at the top of my priorities list. If driving them to practice and to their basketball games meant working early mornings or late nights at my office, so be it. My family and I are forever grateful to Coach Jimmie Burton for providing my son with an opportunity to become a member of his City Stars AAU Program, and for having been an important mentor in my son’s life.
What advice can you give others, looking to break into the sports agent profession?
The advice I would give includes: dedicate your time to studying the applicable governing rules and regulations of your chosen sport or sports; work hard, be honest, humble and ethical; establish relationships of trust and confidence with families, advisors and coaches at the grass-roots, high school and collegiate levels; be kind to all who may cross your path in life (think Golden Rule; and “you never know who is watching in the gym”); and most importantly, be yourself and never abandon your dreams.
If you need assistance in the area of immigration law and/or professional sports, you can reach Mr. Pilot at the information below.