Interview by Paul Salfen
Leigh Steinberg, premier sports agent, entrepreneur, best-selling author, and CEO of Leigh Steinberg Sports and Entertainment Holdings, is best known for his work building athletes into stand-alone brands. He is often credited as the real-life inspiration for the Oscar-winning film Jerry Maguire. Leigh has represented many of the most successful athletes and coaches in football, basketball, baseball, hockey, boxing, and golf, including the number one overall pick in the NFL draft for an unprecedented eight times in conjunction with 62 total first round picks. With an unrivaled history of record-setting contracts, Leigh has secured over $4 billion for his 300+ pro athlete clients and directed more than $750 million to various charities around the world. You can see more about his sports academy here.
Over the course of his career, Leigh has been featured on numerous national television programs, including 60 Minutes, Larry King Live, The Today Show, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, and many more. He has been profiled in a host of magazines, including Business Week, Sports Illustrated, ESPN the Magazine, People, Forbes, Playboy, GQ, and FHM. He currently resides in Newport Beach, CA.
Leigh was born and raised in Los Angeles by his parents, a teacher and librarian. He obtained both his undergraduate and law degrees from Cal where he was student body president during each tenure. Leigh has represented many of the most successful athletes and coaches in football, basketball, baseball, hockey, boxing, golf, etc., including the number one overall pick in the NFL draft for an unprecedented eight times in conjunction with 62 total first round picks. Furthermore, Leigh has represented other notable athletes such as Oscar De La Hoya and Lennox Lewis, as well as multiple Olympians and professional teams. With an unrivaled history of record-setting contracts, Leigh has secured over $4 billion for his 300+ pro athlete clients and directed more than $750 million to various charities around the world.
Leigh is often credited as the inspiration for the Oscar-winning film Jerry Maguire. In addition to receiving a production credit for the movie, Leigh also consulted on features such as Any Given Sunday, For Love of the Game, and Arli$$.
Leigh is easily distinguished from others within his profession by his passion for giving to those less fortunate and his endless campaign to make our world a better place. He has received commendations from Congress, State Senate, State Legislature, the Los Angeles City Council, the Orange County Board of Supervisors, President Reagan, President Bush and President Clinton. Leigh has been named Man of the Year over a dozen times by a variety of groups including the March of Dimes, Cedars-Sinai, the Southern California Boy, Scouts, the Orange County and Los Angeles Human Relations Commissions, the Orange County and Los Angeles divisions of the Anti-Defamation League, and several other professional and charitable organizations. He has also been awarded the “Keys to the City” in San Francisco, CA, Memphis, TN, Jacksonville, FL and Concord, CA. In 2017, Leigh was inducted into the California Sports Hall of Fame.
His efforts to save the Giants led then San Francisco Mayor Frank Jordan to declare “Leigh Steinberg Day” in the city. In 1994, then-Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris utilized Leigh as a consultant in his successful bid to prevent the Oakland Athletics baseball club from relocating. Leigh also served as Co-Chairman of the “Save the Rams” committee in its attempt to keep the franchise from leaving Southern California.