This story is part three of Boardroom’s Black History Month “Playmakers” series highlighting figures across sports, business, culture, and entertainment who are working to effect socially conscious change.
Part I: Patrick Mahomes | Part II: Karl Fowlkes | Part IV: Chris Paul
Part V: Issa Rae | Part VI: Quinta Brunson | Part VII: Broccoli City
As Jalen Hurts’ agent, she already made history as the first Black woman to represent a quarterback in the Super Bowl — but Nicole Lynn is only getting started.
On Feb. 12, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts could be responsible for bringing a second Super Bowl title to the City of Brotherly Love. Eventually, talks of a contract extension will start, and that begs a question: Who is responsible for ensuring such a rising star is paid what he deserves?
Not wanting to miss a single beat, Hurts enlisted the help of agent Nicole Lynn to help manage his off-field affairs, and the two have come to form a truly capable team. The President of Football Ops at Klutch Sports Group, Lynn describes herself as a “tremendous talent and force to be reckoned with,” and those words are far more just bluster given her story so far.
In addition to Hurts, her growing list of clients include Jets defensive lineman Quinnen Williams, Falcons safety Erik Harris, Commanders assistant running backs coach Jennifer King, and Vikings guard Ed Ingram, but it’s ultimately through her relationship with Philly’s QB that cemented Lynn’s place in the history books. After the Eagles‘ Glendale dreams were confirmed, the Tulsa native became the first Black female agent to represent a quarterback playing in the Super Bowl.
That’s an accomplishment most athlete reps with decades more experience would fall over themselves to claim.
The achievement reinforces for the public what Lynn’s clients already knew — that her boldness is the catalyst to her success, as well as a testament to the new levels of success that are unlocked when you insist on betting on yourself.
It all started with a DM
Ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft, most top prospects had already been courted by agencies looking to play a role in their professional success. Hurts on the other hand was still in search of his. He got a lead in January 2020 thanks to a simple Instagram DM sent by Nicole Lynn herself:
“Hey, have you picked an agent? If not, I’d love to link.”
After all, the two already had something in common: Hurts was closing in on the end of his college career at the University of Oklahoma — the same place at which Lynn attended law school several years prior.
“History everywhere. I feel like regardless of the perception of what it may seem to with an African-American woman agent, I really saw something in her and I feel like she’s a grinder — she’s going to go get it,” Hurts told Boardroom Monday night from Super Bowl LVII’s official Opening Night event in Phoenix, Arizona. “Kinda like myself, no one expects you to do much. I feel like we saw eye-to-eye in terms of hunger and determination to succeed, and she’s making history. It’s a ton of different things that I feel like you don’t realize you’re doing until you’re able to reflect on them later on and this is a thing that is surreal having a full female team and Nicole leading the way, she’s doing a great job. It would mean everything to be able to win a Super Bowl for her.”
Formerly a financial analyst on Wall Street, Lynn holds multiple certifications from FINRA, a private organization that helps to regulate firms within the industry. In 2015, she rose through the ranks to become the first female agent at PlayersRep at just 26 years of age. Two years later, PlayersRep was acquired by Young Money APAA Sports Agency, owned by rapper Lil Wayne. In the midst of all this, Lynn was also holding steady as an associate at Houston-based law firm Norton Rose Fulbright.
Several years and many more resume-boosting accolades later, Lynn’s yet-to-be-created dream role would ultimately become hers. Rich Paul, super agent to NBA stars like LeBron James and Anthony Davis, recruited Lynn from Norton Rose Fulbright to help elevate NFL operations at Klutch Sports. With a reported $1.68 billion in contract value among all of the athletes it represents, it proved to be the perfect landing spot for an industry pro whose accomplishments were already redoubtable.
What do Nicole Lynn and 50 Cent have in common?
Lynn’s career is essentially a case study for what happens when you combine expertise and preparation with an unwavering drive for success. Hard work is the obvious response to the stereotypical “How did you do it?” Of course it is. But she’s so profoundly invested that she decided to take the knowledge and experience she had acquired so far and put it all into a book that was released in July 2021.
“Agent You is about being your own agent,” Lynn writes. “Whether that is finding your life’s purpose, reclaiming your peace, getting that dream job, advocating for your seat at the table, or building your professional brand. You are the agent of your own life. Don’t waste another minute working a job you don’t love, not walking in your purpose, and not living to your full potential.”
Her accomplishments going forward won’t be limited to athlete contracts or words in print, however. In September 2020, it was announced that Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson was developing a drama series based on Lynn’s life. Executive produced by Lynn herself and Snowfall writer Tash Gray, Deadline reports that the as-yet-unnamed program “follows the rise of a determined young African-American woman as she breaks through and climbs to the top of the competitive and male-dominated world of sports agents.”
Lynn might currently stand alone amongst Black female agents to represent prominent athletes, but she fully intends to make substantial room at the table for others to ascend and find their own voices — Hurts boasts an all-women management team, with Chantal Romain, Shakeemah Simmons-Winter, and Jenna Malphrus handling the 24-year-old signal-callers media relations and client services, while Rachel Everett handles various marketing duties. That’s not by accident, either, as Hurts has made it his goal to advocate for and support the investment of women in sports, something Lynn has long preached and will undoubtedly help him honor.
In an industry where so many are quick to invalidate a women’s impact, she blocks out the chatter, over-delivers, and remains committed to the task at hand: making her clients a top priority while simultaneously breaking barriers for the next generation.
And with enough luck, Hurts and the Eagles can score a huge win and propel her to even more history at Super Bowl LVII. All in a day’s work for Nicole Lynn.
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