Leanne Barrett: New Zealand’s first FIBA agent

Leanne Barrett

Leanne Barrett is a people person. In particular, she enjoys the camaraderie that sports brings to individuals’ lives. She enjoys helping people, too.

Just ask her.

The first FIBA-certified agent from New Zealand detailed her journey from working in aqua aerobics and aqua jogging for a decade and a half and retail jobs to setting her sights on a job in basketball in an exclusive interview with Talk Basket.

The 56-year-old mother of two sons (the eldest is a Florida-based professional singer; the youngest is employed by the Fletcher Group of Companies in New Zealand) says she’s been “happily married for 25 years.”

As an adult, the Auckland resident has gained a wide range of skills from her various jobs. She spelled it out this way: ”Formerly in administration and marketing of shopping malls such as Westfield in Australia and New Zealand and the Greenfields construction administrator of the Botany Town Centre, I also was marketing manager for Caltex Oils for a time, and taught aqua aerobics and aqua jogging for fitness for 15 years.”

And then in her mid-50s, Leanne Barrett pursued a new path.

Leanne Barrett and one of her clients, Dom Kelman of the New Zealand Basketball League’s Southland Sharks. 

Getting to know Leanne Barrett

So why did you decide to become a basketball agent? How did it happen?

I decided to sit my FIBA Certification to achieve my license last year in 2019 as I was helping friends and basketball associates’ children get into USA colleges at all levels from JUCO to Division I and then helping them get professional gigs, for the love of it. Everyone said, you should get paid for this, so I studied, paid for the trip to sit the test, paid for the test, paid for the flights and accommodation, passed the character assessment, the test and then paid FIBA to certify me.

You must pay FIBA every year, it is expensive, and you must attend a FIBA Agents conference at least every two years, wherever in the world they decide to hold it at your own expense!

At the time I sat FIBA I didn’t realize there were no others certified in New Zealand, so it was a pleasant surprise to be the first! It worked in well with the new FIBA ruling on our tournaments in Australia and New Zealand as they will only work with FIBA Certified Agents now.

Nowadays, what is your long-term goal as an agent?

(My) long-term goal is to try to become a NBA players’ agent.

What do you consider the most satisfying aspects of your work as a FIBA agent? And what are the most challenging parts of the job?

Most satisfying is the fact that I’m helping young adults play the sport they love and travel the globe at the same time.

Since my certification, the good ol’ coronavirus has hit the globe big time and I have had players in comfortable-paying teams, be sent home with no income ongoing and less and less leagues staying open to place them into.

The work of an agent

According to your entry on the FIBA Agents directory, you are representing 20 basketball players. Are you seeking to expand step by step or perhaps have incremental targets over five, 10, 15 years?

I keep a book of 25 players, as I place a player I replace them with a new athlete. Once the player has commenced his playing contract with his team, I start collecting renewed footage and highlight videos from them and promoted them for their next team once they complete the contract they are in. I also represent players that I have not contracted and will not unless I can find them a job, then I will sign them for the length of the contract only.

As I am a one-man-band, so to speak, I will always keep a small book of players, that enables more personal and reliable attention.

Additional insights

What’s the best advice you’ve received from a past or current agent about the keys to success on the job?

I have not received advice from other agents. I’m finding most of them very financially oriented, whereas I choose to be motivated by the athletes’ success and happiness, and placing them in good teams with good people.

Approximately how many hours do you work in a “typical week” as a FIBA agent in 2020?

I work around 15 hours per day most days, Monday in New Zealand is Sunday over in Europe and USA so it is my quiet day and I catch up with administrative stuff.

Agent Leanne Barrett and basketball-playing siblings Shane Temara (left) and younger brother Troy Temara, both of whom play for the NZBL’s Manawatu Jets.