Kim Miale isn’t just making her mark as one of the few women in the sports agency world. She’s making history, too. During the 2018 NFL Draft, her client Saquon Barkley went No. 2 overall to the New York Giants, the highest a player represented by a woman has ever been selected. But her work doesn’t stop there.
She’s also currently the agent for players like Pittsburgh’s JuJu Smith-Schuster, Dez Bryant, Ravens offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley, Seahawks running back C.J. Prosise, and Chargers defensive end Isaac Rochell. Roc Nation also represents the Rams’ Todd Gurley, and Jacksonville’s Leonard Fournette.
Roc Nation encourages agents to focus on a select few clients per draft class. Last year, it was Barkley, who went on to win the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year award following his 2,028-yard, 15-touchdown season. In her sixth year of working at Roc Nation, Miale will be representing Stanford running back Bryce Love.
While she’s been representing big-name football players since 2013, the idea of being a sports agent came to her while she was in law school.
“I took a sports law class,” Miale told SB Nation. “And the professor happened to be a woman who was an NFL agent. She had an open internship and was taking applications, and I was fortunate enough to get the internship and that’s what kind of started the process. I interned with her every semester I possibly could, even in summers.”That NFL agent was Kristen Kuliga, who helped negotiate Doug Flutie’s contract with the San Diego Chargers, worth $33 million, in 2001. She is also the founder of K Sports & Entertainment, which recently merged with another agency to form Vanguard Sports, and represents several former and current NFL athletes.
But Miale didn’t get to just leave law school and become a sports agent right away.
Kuliga’s firm didn’t have the bandwidth to hire Miale, so instead, she started her law career clerking in Connecticut before taking a job as a litigation lawyer in Boston. Although the job wasn’t exactly her passion, she admits it was a way to help her pay off what she owed from law school. But when a close family member of hers died, it clicked — she had to pursue her passion and become a sports agent.
“I had an uncle who I was really, really close with,” Miale explains. “He always mentored me about taking the path less traveled, and really encouraged me to not be afraid to do something outside the norm or outside the box. He passed away and I was the executor of his estate, and it was kind of a lightbulb moment where I thought, ‘I don’t wanna stay in a career that I really don’t enjoy and I don’t love.’ So I decided to go and take the test to get certified as an agent.”
Miale knows that sometimes you end up being in the right place at the right time.
After getting certified, Miale began recruiting and representing local players in Boston for a couple years before landing a job as a consultant at the now-defunct Madison Avenue Sports and Entertainment while still working as a litigation attorney. The agency wanted to expand to represent football players and brought Miale on board to do just that. Although she represented some clients from bigger schools, the deals were mostly for guys who ended up getting cut before the season began. Then came her big break.
Shortly after Roc Nation was founded in 2013, the agency hired Miale as its first in-house football agent to represent Geno Smith. Miale negotiated Smith’s rookie deal with the New York Jets worth about $5 million.
Being at the right place at the right time has helped her land some of her other clients, too. In fact, she decided she wanted to represent Barkley in January 2017 while she was recruiting Smith-Schuster.
“I was at the Rose Bowl on the brink of signing JuJu,” Miale said. “And obviously Barkley lit up the field that night. I had known of him anyway, but being at the Rose Bowl and watching that game I just thought, ‘my God, this is the player I need to focus on for next season because I’ve never seen anything like it. He’s so transformative, he’s electric out there.’”While Miale says she’s proud of every single one of her clients, what some of her guys do off the field has been great to watch.
“Barkley going No. 2 in the draft as a running back, highest running back drafted since 2006, and then getting rookie of the year,” Miale says about the most satisfying parts of her job. “Just watching him move to the next chapter so seamlessly and be so successful has been really, really rewarding. And then also, to see what he’s done off the field, supporting his niece who has a very rare disease called 22q. Doing what he can to raise awareness for such a rare disease has been really inspiring to watch for him and his family.”The same goes for Smith-Schuster, who has done charity work with Meals on Wheels and recently donated $20,000 to the organization in December 2018.
“JuJu, he was a guy who should’ve been drafted much higher, and I think that that’s been proven now that the scouting reports were wrong on him,” Miale says about the Steelers’ 2017 second-round pick. “Watching him go to a place like Pittsburgh where it was just the perfect fit for him, where he could go and thrive has just been incredible to watch.
“He does great work off the field, too. He’s very involved with Meals on Wheels, which oftentimes the elderly is a group that’s not really given a lot of attention — not a lot of players work with the elderly. It’s most of the time [working with] kids and doing stuff like that. So for JuJu to go and do Meals on Wheels with Pittsburgh, he’s done incredible stuff. To watch that has been really rewarding.”