You know the name Andrew Wiggins. He was drafted number one overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers before being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a deal that moved Kevin Love to the Cavaliers. Wiggins has performed very well since entering the National Basketball Association, and was recently invited to partake in NBA All-Star Weekend in his home of Toronto.
A name you may not be familiar with is Eric Leak. However Leak has been instrumental in Wiggins' rise as a professional basketball player. Leak is not an agent, but his leadership has helped Wiggins grow into the man he is today.
How Eric Leak matched with superstar Andrew Wiggins.
Entrepreneurs and innovators are often not seeking the unique opportunity that is eventually presented to them, but they are typically engaged in activities that lend them credibility and put them in the right place at the right time to strike. That is precisely the situation that Leak found himself in.
"I was doing some work with Andrew's high school coach, helping a behavioral kid out with an issue, when the coach said, 'I would like for you to help another guy that we have' and it was Andrew," explained Leak. "We built a relationship from there. It was never intended to be business; it was just helping him out."
From that time, Leak has been charged with handling most of Wiggins' off-court business affairs. It started with gaining the trust of his high school coach, followed by Wiggins and his family. That trust remains in place through this day.
What exactly does an entrepreneur like Leak provide to Wiggins?
Many may believe that Leak is an unnecessary middle-man between Wiggins and his contract agent, Bill Duffy. Wiggins and Leak would state otherwise.
Leak oversees all of Wiggins' endeavors, which includes oversight of Duffy's moves. It extends to overseeing Wiggins' financial advisor and communicating with Wiggins so that he knows what is going on in his professional life at all times. Additionally, Leak provides what he calls a concierge and personal assistance service to Wiggins' family.
"We provide education on saving, spending, and just how to go about handling his money," said Leak "We do a seminar every six months. I have his accountant and his financial advisor teach him how taxes work, the value of money, investments. We'll do etiquette and contracts next. It's about educating the family as a whole on the business and his new world. I call it the college."
How Leak discovered a need for his services.
"I combined all the things that were needed based on personal experience," explained Leak. "I was seeing all the different things lacking from what an agent provides and created a gap service to provide the things in the middle. I am someone who understands the business, but can break it down in layman's terms. So many times the kids are scared to ask questions, which leaves a lot of grey areas. I fill those grey areas."
The services that Leak provides really begin and end with keeping the athlete familiar with his business and educated about the decisions that are made on his behalf. Leak has also taken it upon himself to become more familiar with the terms of the NBA's Collective Bargaining Agreement and to educate Wiggins on same.
"I also want to keep him abreast on all situations going on with agents around the league, always keeping his best interests in the front," said Leak. "I need to make sure there's a balance between his individual benefit as opposed to the benefit for company he's represented by."
Leak's role as Wiggins gets ready for NBA All-Star Weekend.
Leak and Wiggins were certainly hoping for the basketball player to be selected to participate in the All-Star game. A consolation is that Wiggins has been invited to participate in the All-Star Weekend, which will be hosted in his home town of Toronto.
"Although he had individual success -- top 15 in the league in scoring -- it wasn't enough because you have to win," explained Leak. "You have to bring your team along with you, but just being in Toronto is huge for him and he's super excited for that."
Leak says he has been extremely busy preparing the whole Wiggins family for a celebration.
"What I've done to this point is arrange his schedule for the different parties and events, hotels for family, ticket accommodations and make sure his sponsors were satisfied as far as his obligations and appearances under the contract," said Leak.
It seems like Leak is serving a vital role for one of the NBA's premier players.