RVOC January 2013 : Page 56

56 | THE RADAR | PEOPLE Good Sport After overcoming challenges, Leigh Steinberg can see a big win ahead. in league history at the time. “I sailed through the rst 35 years of my career… I was straight out of law school and life was pretty wonderful.” Back then, Steinberg represented 60 first-round draft picks in football, eight of whom were at the top of the list. His clients included football great Troy Aikman, championship boxer Oscar de la Hoya, and Olympic gold medalists. It wasn’t until later that Steinberg experienced a run of bad luck: He got divorced, his father died, and he led for bankruptcy. A bank auctioned o millions of dollars worth of his memorabilia—photos of him with Ronald Reagan and Leonardo DiCaprio; pictures from the lm Jerry Maguire , which was loosely based on his life; and signed jerseys and helmets. “I began to feel helpless... and I turned to alcohol,” says Steinberg, who left his Newport Coast home, closed his o ce in Fashion Island and walked away from his career. But now he’s making his way back. He’s working a 12-step program and has learned to manage his alcoholism, and he’s launched Steinberg Sports & Entertainment. Its platforms include representing top talents in football, baseball, soccer, tennis and pro “I was raised... to believe that my mission in life was not to become wealthy or be a business success. It was to make a difference in the world.” basketball; marketing leagues and high-pro le sports executives; and working with Laguna Niguel’s Desksite to provide fans with online access to games, interviews and more for teams such as the Dallas Cowboys. Steinberg—who’s been a proponent of preventing football-related concussions for nearly 30 years—also wants to introduce products to the athletic community that promote safety from injury, and to take sustainable technologies to stadiums and elds at the pro, collegiate and high-school levels. He has guest spots on talk radio shows almost every day, is writing an autobiography and has even worked to bring a football team to L.A. He’s also building on the philanthropic work that has been a trademark of his career. He’s received recognition from four U.S. presidents and has been named Man of the Year by orgs like March of Dimes. Most recently, he earned the Wyland Foundation’s Ambassador for the Planet Award. “I was raised... to believe that my mission in life was not to become wealthy or be a business success. It was to make a di erence in the world,” Steinberg says. “You can nd something to do in life that combines your ideals with the ability to make a living, and you don’t have to believe that the ends justify the means. I try to inspire other people that they can do their own thing in their own way.” The Comeback Kid Leigh Steinberg went from having everything to nothing—and now he’s getting it all back again. | By Wendy Bowman | Photography by John Gilhooley | Flash back to 2010, and Leigh Steinberg was arguably the most sought-after sports agent in the U.S. en, almost seemingly in the blink of an eye, he lost it all. He found himself sitting on a couch in a short-term recovery center in Costa Mesa that didn’t even have a bed for him. It was while he waited for a spot to open that he began to ponder how he’d gone from being one of the most powerful gures in sports to a down-and-out alcoholic. “Most people struggle mightily through the rst parts of their careers and ultimately come to a better place,” says Steinberg, whose first client—Atlanta Falcons quarterback Steve Bartkowski—was the rst pick in the NFL draft and got the largest rookie contract | January 2013

The Radar People

Wendy Bowman

The Comeback Kid <br /> <br /> Leigh Steinberg went from having everything to nothing—and now he’s getting it all back again.<br /> <br /> Flash back to 2010, and Leigh Steinberg was arguably the most sought-after sports agent in the U.S. Then, almost seemingly in the blink of an eye, he lost it all. He found himself sitting on a couch in a short-term recovery center in Costa Mesa that didn't even have a bed for him. It was while he waited for a spot to open that he began to ponder how he'd gone from being one of the most powerful figures in sports to a down-and-out alcoholic.<br /> <br /> "Most people struggle mightily through the first parts of their careers and ultimately come to a better place," says Steinberg, whose first client—Atlanta Falcons quarterback Steve Bartkowski—was the first pick in the NFL draft and got the largest rookie contract in league history at the time. "I sailed through the first 35 years of my career... I was straight out of law school and life was pretty wonderful." Back then, Steinberg represented 60 first-round draft picks in football, eight of whom were at the top of the list. His clients included football great Troy Aikman, championship boxer Oscar de la Hoya, and Olympic gold medalists.<br /> <br /> It wasn't until later that Steinberg experienced a run of bad luck: He got divorced, his father died, and he filed for bankruptcy. A bank auctioned off millions of dollars worth of his memorabilia—photos of him with Ronald Reagan and Leonardo DiCaprio; pictures from the film Jerry Maguire, which was loosely based on his life; and signed jerseys and helmets. "I began to feel helpless... and I turned to alcohol," says Steinberg, who left his Newport Coast home, closed his office in Fashion Island and walked away from his career.<br /> <br /> But now he's making his way back. He's working a 12-step program and has learned to manage his alcoholism, and he's launched Steinberg Sports & Entertainment. Its platforms include representing top talents in football, baseball, soccer, tennis and pro basketball; marketing leagues and high-profile sports executives; and working with Laguna Niguel's Desksite to provide fans with online access to games, interviews and more for teams such as the Dallas Cowboys.<br /> <br /> Steinberg—who's been a proponent of preventing football-related concussions for nearly 30 years—also wants to introduce products to the athletic community that promote safety from injury, and to take sustainable technologies to stadiums and fields at the pro, collegiate and high-school levels. He has guest spots on talk radio shows almost every day, is writing an autobiography and has even worked to bring a football team to L.A. <br /> <br /> He's also building on the philanthropic work that has been a trademark of his career. He's received recognition from four U.S. presidents and has been named Man of the Year by orgs like March of Dimes. Most recently, he earned the Wyland Foundation's Ambassador for the Planet Award. "I was raised... to believe that my mission in life was not to become wealthy or be a business success. It was to make a difference in the world," Steinberg says. "You can find something to do in life that combines your ideals with the ability to make a living, and you don't have to believe that the ends justify the means. I try to inspire other people that they can do their own thing in their own way."<br /> <br />

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