Jay Z isn't a problem for Beverly Hills Relativity Sports agent, Tory Dandy, whose clients include 2014 #4 overall pick, Wide Receiver Sammy Watkins and 2009 #3 overall pick Tyson Jackson. Ok, well he didn’t say that exactly, however the young agent and fast growing entrepreneur isn’t worried about the competition, any competition for that matter, and why should he?
At just 34 years old, Dandy is tipped as an agent to watch in the sports world, one might even consider him a threat, having already notched up two top 5 picks under his belt and more. However Jay Z’s foray into the sports industry must’ve ruffled some feathers… especially after calling out agents as ‘lazy.’ “I have nothing but respect for Jay Z.” says Dandy, “He’s an icon and has shown over the years that he’s a very capable man. I don’t think he understands the day-to-day aspect of an agents life, the hands on stuff, I don’t know how much of that he’s really going to be doing, I mean he’s a busy man himself, but no matter what, competition is competition whether you’re Jay Z or not. There are a lot of other great agents and agencies out here to have to compete against to just be worried about Jay Z.”
That being said, in an interview with The Breakfast Club on New York’s Power 105.1 radio station, Jay Z also went on to say that he would ‘Change the way how current sports agents work for them to continue to be successful.’ When highlighting this statement to Dandy, he continued, “There are a lot of successful agents in this business who are a lot older; I think he’s [Jay Z] more so trying to call shots at them. I think he’s letting them know that what worked for them back in the days, that now there’s a new trend of athletes that’s coming through, that do demand more attention and an agent that’s more hands on, and I think that’s what he was really thinking about.”
So what does it really take to be successful in this business? As for the most part, American Football is still fairly a new sport to us Brits, in which we know not that much about it, except perhaps what we see on TV, like the 1999 movie Any Given Sunday staring Jamie Fox. If we are to believe what we see on TV, it’s a pretty ruthless business. “It can be ruthless, but I think you’ve just got to be genuine with who you are, I don’t go into a meeting trying to be somebody else, trying to talk a certain way, or make a guy feel a certain way, I just be myself. I’m just genuine, true and transparent, and I think that’s why I’ve been successful very early,” says Dandy.
Dandy was born and raised in the small town area of Woodruff South Carolina and moved to Charlotte 6 years ago. He was raised in a single parent household, where his mother worked two to three jobs at a time to provide for himself and his three older sisters. “Growing up, I never saw my father,” states Dandy, “he wasn’t a part of my life. I’m not going to say it was hard, but it wasn’t easy, growing up in a single parent household, it was challenging not having my father around, but I never allowed that for an excuse for me not to be successful. I met him when I was 28 years old, and I buried him when I was 30 years old.”
Becoming an agent
As a youth, the idea of becoming an agent wasn’t exactly in Dandy’s sights; in fact he flirted with the idea of becoming a coach after a torn ligament in his shoulder thwarted his dreams of playing in the NFL. Dandy’s first foray into the business included an internship with Synergy Sports in 2004, and after a year interning, he was later promoted to Director of Recruiting. In 2006 he landed a job as Director of Recruiting with Maximum Sports with veteran agents Eugene Parker and Roosevelt Barnes and in 2009 at the young age of 29 years old, Dandy, had the #3 overall pick with client Tyson Jackson. After a very successful run at Maximum Sports, he joined the Relativity Sports Family in 2013.
As a certified NFLPA agent, Dandy is involved in all aspects of client representation with his primary focus being contract negotiation, client services, and pre-draft process. As flashy and attractive, being a sports agent appears to be, Dandy has far better insight into what really goes on behind the game. “The tough part about what we do is probably the recruiting process, going out, finding the right guy, competing against your competitors. You got some agents out there who are true and honest with these young men and you’ve got agents who are dishonest. So trying to get through all of that dishonesty of some of these agents, and finding the right guys that want to be empowered and educated in this business, because it is a business for them and what we [Relativity Sports] try to do, what I try to do is empower them to where they can make great business decisions and not be a statistic like 78/80 percent of some of the guys that end up broke in the NFL after like 2 years.” Dandy goes on to say, “For a great sports agent, my job is 24/7, I’m always accessible to my clients and their families, its goes far beyond, just negotiating contracts, it could be just life skills, coaching them, talking about life, marketing. I don’t try to limit what I actually do for my clients, it could be anything from helping them buy a car, or getting a house, talking to clients about their personal relationships, I pretty much try to be all hands on with my guys and their families, that’s definitely important. Like a full service manager basically.”
The American Football lifestyle is certainly fascinating to us across the pond, the passion, the flashy showmanship; the pride etc really does resonate to the 1996 movie Jerry Maguire starring Tom Cruise. “It can well be!” states Dandy, “If the agent allows it to be.” He continues, “this is my career, this is my job, and that’s how I treat it. I treat it the same way a doctor, a lawyer, or a schoolteacher would treat their job. I don’t try and live the limelight of the actual client.” If going by the flick Jerry Maguire, the character that played Jerry’s nemesis, “ Bob Sugar” (Jay Mohr), who stole Maguire’s no.1 client remained prevalent in most peoples mind. My question is, does stuff like this really happen? And in such a cutthroat and blatant manner? “This is a field where you can be the best, work the hardest, know the most, but at the same time, can get nothing from it.” Says Dandy, “Either you sign a guy or you don’t sign a guy. There’s no in between, so I think, that’s the most challenging part. You can work on recruiting a guy and his family for a year or two and still come up with nothing. You’ve got some agents that want to live the lifestyle, I just want to work hard, I want to do a great job, where my client is able to provide for his family and also where I can provide for my family.”
Very Inspiring makes you wonder what motivates him… “My daughter Victorea. She just graduated high school recently, she had a 4.4GPA. She fuels me. Not having a father in my life, I want to make sure that she will never be without in that situation so that’s really what I do what I do, why I’ve got so much passion for what I do.” Very admirable for a young man, who’s had no real male support, no real formal background… it’s a testament to his mother and his upbringing that he’s able to maintain these values and instill them into his day-to-day work ethic.
When asked about where his interest lies outside of football, Dandy expressed. “I’m big on going out and empowering other people, inspiring them, that kind of thing. In the next 5 years, I do want to have a book just about life and overcoming obstacles, reaching your dream, your true destiny. I want to go speaking across the country, about persevering and just having faith and going on capturing your dream.”
So who is Tory Dandy when he’s not working? “A family oriented young man who enjoys relaxing with family and friends. I try to live everyday a blessed life, but also a stress and drama free life, with the understanding that life does happen, but I always try to keep a strong faith. I’m just a young man that’s out here, chasing his dream, living his dream, a young kid from Woodruff South Carolina, a single parent home that a lot of people counted out that, I’m still here, I’m still pushing, I’m not satisfied, I’m still hungry and the best is yet to come.
For more information about Tor Dandy, Follow his visual journey on instagram: @torydandy
Words: Julia Huie-Martin (@juliahuiemartin)