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Hoops and dreams: Kelowna NBA agent on a quest to grow the game

Deion Adams is changing the game and giving players more opportunities
Kelowna native Deion Adams is a certified NBA agent. (Deion Adams/Linkedin)

Kelowna’s Deion Adams has made it to the NBA, but not how you think.

Last year Adams, originally from Calgary, became a certified NBA agent, meaning he can represent players and help them with finding new opportunities, contract negotiations and more. He moved to Kelowna as part of his journey because he loves the city, and came here every summer “for as long as he can remember.”

Growing up, he loved basketball, but it wasn’t always his first love.

“I actually was trying to go to the Olympics for snowboarding, my goal was to go to the 2018 Olympics, that was my first [sport], [but] I always loved basketball and I had to make that decision growing up, which sport I wanted to choose,” said Adams.

After snowboarding didn’t work out, Adams went back to his other love, basketball. He enrolled at Ambrose University, a private post-secondary institute in Calgary and walked onto the basketball team there, the Lions. He played there for three years and graduated with a bachelor of business administration and marketing.

“I knew I wasn’t ever going to be good enough to be a pro, but I wanted to really take what I can do and bring it to the next level with basketball,” said Adams. “I’ve always been a really ambitious guy so why not go all the way to the top and become an NBA agent?”

In order to become an NBA agent, Adams had to go through a series of steps. He had already completed the first step by having a post-secondary degree. Secondly, the NBA’s Player Association (NBPA) did a background check on Adams, which he passed with flying colours. Once the background check went through, Adams had to start studying the NBA and NBPA’s collective bargaining agreement (CBA). To become a certified NBA agent, you must write an exam on the CBA and get at least 42/50 to pass.

Adams passed and became an official NBA agent.

Now where do you go once you become an agent? Well, Adams has help from his friend Kenny Johnson, who he played against in University. Johnson scouts players for Adams, and they decide who they want to try to represent.

“We know that the players we’re looking for aren’t going to be the top guys because those guys are already going to go with the big-time agents,” said Adams. “We’re looking for the most underrated guys that are on the verge of being great. We want to find them before they explode.”

Adams is in his second year as an agent and because of that, all his clients are his top priority and he can relate well to them as Adams himself was an athlete who had an agent.

Right now Adams currently represents three players: Tray Maddox Jr., Riley Cordwell, and Isaiah Lewis.

Maddox Jr. played for Western Michigan University and declared for the 2023 NBA Draft at the end of March.

Cordwell is an unrestricted free agent, meaning he can be signed by any team. He recently played in the National Basketball League (NBL) in Australia.

Lewis played four seasons overseas and with the help of Adams, and is trying to get back into the G-League and NBA. His last season overseas was in Uruguay.

On top of that, Adams would also love to represent Canadian players in the future as he wants to grow the game in Canada, especially Western Canada.

“I would love to put on a lot of Canadian guys, but a lot of my scouting is from a lot of players playing division one [NCAA] in the States,” said Adams. “We have no Canadians right now but that’s definitely a goal. The whole reason I want to build this thing in Kelowna is because I really want to build a basketball culture here. I know a lot of people love basketball here. I’m just really trying to allow people to see the opportunity and to see this type of thing is Kelowna and Western Canada.”

As for Adams himself, he still tries to play basketball when he can, but he’s on the busiest time of the year as the NBA offseason is on the horizon and the NBA Draft begins on June 22.

“I’ve always wanted to work in sports and it’s really a dream come true. It’s been a ton of work, lots of ups, lots of downs but just working hard and building something. I truly believe if you really work hard at something and give it your 100 per cent best effort, you can achieve anything.”

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Jordy Cunningham

About the Author: Jordy Cunningham

Hailing from Ladner, B.C., I have been passionate about sports, especially baseball, since I was young. In 2018, I graduated from Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops with a Bachelor of Journalism degree
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