While Colin Bryant enjoys the work and glamour of being a sports executive and agent for high profile NBA players, he is driven by “living his purpose,” and giving back to his clients, community, family, and friends.
Saint Leo University hosted Bryant as the featured speaker at its Mission-Driven Leaders: Conversations on Purpose today (October 14) with more than 200 people attending in person and online. He is the third leader to be featured in this speaker series, which is sponsored by the San Antonio Citizens Federal Credit Union. Dr. Mark Gesner, vice president of Community Engagement and Communications, engaged Bryant in a conversation about how he aligns his actions with his values in business and in his life.
Bryant earned a Master of Business Administration degree with a specialization in sport business from Saint Leo University in 2015, and now chairs Max Deal Sports, a full-service sports management firm based in Houston, TX.
In his 20-plus-year career, Bryant has led organizations to deliver high-profile, multimillion dollar contracts with top players in the NBA, including NBA champion Antonio Daniels; Olympic Gold medalist Keldon Johnson; and his biggest client, NBA All-Star and champion Rashard Lewis. He recently guided Lewis to signing his first coaching contract with the Detroit Pistons.
For Bryant, his leadership journey began with his parents. His mother, “taught me the power of prayer and listening, leaning on the Holy Spirit in your own life,” he said. “My dad was big on accountability.”
He shared how his dad not only taught him to take out the trash, but also to make sure to put a fresh plastic garbage bag in the can. His father was “big on follow-through. And it’s about what you do when no one is looking,” Bryant added. He also advised Saint Leo students that it’s important to surround themselves with people and friends who will hold them accountable.
His NBA dreams were dashed when he was injured while playing basketball for California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (CalPoly). He dropped out of college to assist his friend Daniels with his blossoming NBA career, and parlayed that experience into becoming a highly successful sports agent and executive. But he never forgot his promise to his parents to complete his degree, and not only did he do that, he went on to sharpen his skills with his MBA from Saint Leo.
“The dream changes,” Bryant said. “Once you get to your dream [achieving a goal], you have got to dream again.”
Even though he was a certified sports agent, Bryant said he felt incomplete and like a hypocrite because he advised players and others to continue their education, but he had not done so himself. So he found an online program and earned his undergraduate degree, but he wanted more.
Saint Leo University’s core values and mission aligned with his own, and the sport business MBA program had a good reputation, so he pursued his next dream of earning his MBA.
“It gave me a stronger foundation,” he said. His most challenging course was a law class, but he learned from that class that details matter—a fact he uses when he’s planning events in his professional and personal life.
Gesner asked Bryant what he would look for in someone who was applying for a job. “No. 1 is character,” he said. “And be assertive. This business is competitive. Be authentic to you. Be who you are.” He advised to hold true to personal values. “If you want me to compromise my values for you, then maybe I’m not the sports agent for you. . .My purpose is to do God’s work first and do it with integrity.”
Bryant also advocated for “sending the elevator down,” meaning help others as others have helped you.
Gesner said Bryant had told him one piece of advice is, “you have got to be present; you have got to show up.”
Bryant said this is something he has had to work on, and that his fiancée, daughter, and others help hold him accountable. Reading The Power of Now [A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment], helps, too.
“Life is about the journey,” he said. “You can’t get time back. Capture the moment and enjoy the journey.”