Aussies in NBA: Exum signs Australian representation deal with The Sports Group

Utah Jazz guard and Australian Boomer Dante Exum has signed an exclusive representation deal for local commercial and marketing opportunities with The Sports Group, an Australian sports management firm headed by co-directors Mark Jones and Rod Read.

Exum is represented by the US-based Landmark Sports Agency, which also manages a host of established NBA athletes, ranging from Laker superstar Kobe Bryant to Houston All-Star James Harden and more. This new partnership with The Sports Group (TSG) essentially gives the rising Jazz star a base from which to grow his Australian presence and build brand awareness.

To quote The Sports Group's media release:

"With Exum a near-certain selection for the Australian Boomers' 2016 Rio Olympic Games campaign, local representation in the form of The Sports Group was seen as imperative to nurture media and commercial interest incumbent on the Boomers' star playmaker and one of Australia's most marketable athletes."

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TSG co-director Mark Jones has expressed faith in Exum's popularity. "Dante's popularity in Australia is unpredecented. We're talking about a guy who was recruited into the NBA as a top-five pick from Basketball Australia's development pathway as an 18 year-old."

Jones pointed to Exum's popularity with local fans as "unpredecented". It's not hard to see why the word was used. Exum was selected as the fifth pick in the NBA draft, despite being an international man of mystery who hailed from the development program of Basketball Australia.

Unlike most other draft prospects, who had showcased their skills in the NCAA, Exum's basketball exploits were relatively unseen right up till the days leading up to the draft. His selection is the culmination of a dream for a younger generation of Australian basketballers, that it is indeed possible to make it into the NBA with talent and hard work even without the US college pathway.

Mark Jones also pointed to market research company Repucom's '2014 International Index for Celebrity Evaluation' as evidence of Exum's popularity. The Jazz sophomore surprisingly ranked among the top 10 Australian athletes in six categories, including appeal (6th), aspiration (6th) and breakthrough (5th), which surely earmarks Exum as legitimate role model material for fellow Australians, amongst other renowned local athletes.

Fellow TSG co-director Rod Read had this to say about Exum and the new partnership between both agencies.

"Dante has an incredibly strong work ethic, a clear vision for his future and a really palpable respect for the game. Those personal qualities really stack up for us from a brand value perspective and they also offer us a really strong position to engage with stakeholders.

This partnership with Landmark Sports Agency will underpin a genuinely global management strategy for Dante Exum, and for our part, work to embed Dante's profile locally."

The Sports Group also represents a series of well-known athletes, including Daniel Ricciardo of Formula One fame, Olympic medallist swimmer James Magnussen and more. Exum's signing with The Sports Group can, and only will mean more good things for Australian fans who would love nothing more to see more of the Jazz sophomore.

Despite being injured after an exciting performance in his debut Summer League game earlier in the month, Dante Exum is still projected to make his appearance as a Boomer during the FIBA Oceania Championship games next month.

(h/t Tom Read - Dante Exum signs with Australian Sports Agency, The Sports Group)

Source: TSG press release, courtesy of Mark Jones.