What Makes Leigh Steinberg Such a Sports Legend?

Leigh Steinberg may not be a name on the lips of every sports fanatic, but he has provided the backbone to the careers of many great names in the sports world. With him, he has brought the ideals of honesty, integrity, and ethics to the often-ruthless world of sports.

So, what is the history of the guy who put “man” into the word “sportsmanship?”

Here are his career highlights of Leigh, who is the president of Sportamix, and a key supporter and advisor of the website since the beginning.

He Represented the Best

Leigh Steinberg’s client list is a Who’s Who of the Best in Sports. It includes “Golden Boy” boxer Oscar De La Hoya, who won world titles in six weight classes, and won a gold medal in the 1992 summer Olympics. He represented three-time world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, baseball outfielder Dusty Baker, legendary football quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes II, Warren Moon and Paxton Lynch, and many other Olympians and professional athletes.

He secured more than $3 billion for his more than 500 pro athlete clients in basketball, baseball, hockey, boxing, football, golf, Olympics and more. He is also a master negotiator, who led efforts that saved the San Francisco Giants from re-location. 

Leigh Steinberg (center) surrounded by “Jerry Maguire” stars Cuba Gooding Jr. and Tom Cruise, who played the character based on him.

A Movie Based on Him

In the late 1990s, the catch-phrase “Show Me the Money” landed on the list of 100 most famous movie quotes (and “You had me at hello” is also on the list from the film, too!) That was from the film “Jerry Maguire,” directed by Cameron Crowe, and went on to earn five Academy Award nominations including a win for Cuba Gooding Jr. for Best Supporting Actor as an enthusiastic athlete. 

Tom Cruise played the lead role of Jerry Maguire, which was based on Leigh, who is portrayed as perhaps more ruthless than he is in real life. Cruise, who befriend Leigh during the filming, and attended many of Leigh’s parties and charity events, was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar, but didn’t win, (however he won a Golden Globe for the performance).

Leigh has a cameo in the film, playing the agent for Troy Aikman (and he really was Aikman’s agent.) 

The film became Tom Cruise’s fifth straight $100-million box office hit, setting a new record.

Leigh can also be seen, playing himself, on the movie “Any Given Sunday” and the TV show “Beverly Hills, 90210” as well as “Arli$$” and a few dozen other cameos, incuding a documentary on boxer Muhammad Ali. He consulted with Kevin Costner on “For the Love of the Game.”

A Hall of Famer Himself

Leigh was inducted into the California Sports Hall of Fame in 2017, and honored with Keys to the City in San Francisco, Memphis, Jacksonville, San Francisco and more.

Throughout his more than four decades in the sports world, he represented the No. 1 NFL draft pick a record eight times. He has represented 62 first-round draft picks, nine Hall of Famers and authored a few best-selling books. He wrote two best-selling books, “The Agent” and “Winning With Integrity: How to Get What You Want Without Selling Your Soul.”

Leigh Sees the Benefits of Sportamix

From the very beginning of the innovative Sportamix website, Leigh thought it was a great idea, and eventually became president and consultant for the project.

“If you are a young athlete, if you are a parent of an athlete, if you are a coach, or an executive, join our network,” Leigh said. “You can locate and find talent around the world, and showcase your work without doing a thing, sitting in front of your computer.”

The super-agent suggests, “It can enhance your whole life.”

Leigh notes that the site can be used to develop ethics and values for young people and help charities.

Gene Skazovski and Leigh Steinberg, both of Sportamix

His Passion for Helping Charities

Leigh’s work in the community matches his career in representation with being credited for helping raise over $800 million for charity.  He has received four Presidential Commendations for community service, in addition to the key to five cities.

He presents the Steinberg DeNicola Humanitarian Awards every year at his famous Leigh Steinberg Super Bowl Party. The award promotes humanitarian activism and recognizes outstanding individuals in the NFL community that devote and dedicate their time to address community issues and the welfare of humanity. 

Past recipients have included:

  • Robert “Woody” Johnson IV, Owner, New York Jets 
  • Jeff Fisher, Head Coach, St. Louis Rams 
  • Dennis Hickey, GM, Miami Dolphins 
  • Jonathan Babineaux, DT, Atlantic Falcons 

The Super Bowl parties are often the hottest ticket in town, and in the past attendees have included President Barak Obama, former California governor Jerry Brown, tennis legend Serena Williams;Academy award winners such as Kevin Costner, Cuba Gooding Jr., George Clooney and director Oliver Stone; musicians such as Lance Bass, Joey Fatone, Pete Wentz, Grammy winners like Justin Timberlake, Emmy winner Jeremy Piven and Tom Cruise. 

Lots of sports heroes also attend regularly such as Troy Aikmen, Ron Jaworski, and NFL team owners Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys), Robert Kraft (New England Patriots) and Woody Johnson (New York Jets). The invitation-only party is attended by NFL owners, general managers, coaches, players, celebrities, entertainers, politicians, corporate CEOS and media personalities.

But Leigh cares more about helping youth, and sees Sportamix as a “pathway to college scholarship, or getting drafted into a professional league.”

Leigh said, “I can even see Sportamix used by endorsers and advertisers to find people who will fit their role. It will become the place to go to learn more about athletes domestically and internationally, and convey who they are as human being and athletes.”

“You’ll find opportunities in ways that wasn’t there before, it will enhance your whole life,” Leigh said.

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