Charles Misuraca has emerged as a prominent agent in the hectic industry of professional athlete representation.
Misuraca, a 2009 Winnebago High School graduate, was a two-year starting point guard for the Sauk Valley Community College men’s basketball team. He now is president and co-owner of SLASH Sports & Entertainment, which is based in Los Angeles. He and partner Harrison Gaines are agents for a host of professional basketball players, in the U.S. and abroad.
SLASH’s most prominent client to date has been Lonzo Ball, the second overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. SLASH also brokered deals for Lonzo’s younger brothers, LiAngelo and LaMelo, to begin their professional careers that same year in Lithuania.
LaMelo recently was chosen with the third pick of the 2020 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets, while LiAngelo signed a non-guaranteed deal with the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday. SLASH and the Ball Family parted ways in 2019 and the Ball brothers have gone on with new agents.
Misuraca, 29, has been a fast-riser in the sports agent business. After finishing at Sauk Valley in 2011, he went on to play basketball at Missouri Valley College before graduating from Eureka College in 2013.
From there, it was on to the Thomas Jefferson School of Law and San Diego State University, where he earned a law degree and MBA in a mere 31/2 years, graduating Magna Cum Laude. He passed the California Bar Exam shortly after graduation.
While going to school, he also started his own business, Elevate Agency, in which he was an agent for aspiring professional basketball players. It resulted in some long hours, between studying and getting a career underway.
“I had bags under my eyes for some years,” Misuraca said. “It was non-stop.”
In 2017, Misuraca merged his company with that of Gaines, a friend from his days at law school in San Diego.
“It was essentially a name change for me,” Misuraca said. “Harrison has been one of my best friends since the first year of law school. We had worked together on several ventures prior to officially merging.”
Early in his career, Misuraca split his time between the U.S. and overseas, primarily in Europe and China. In those faraway lands, he met with personnel from teams that could potentially employ his clients. It was forging relationships and building trust. As the client base has grown, it’s made Misuraca’s job easier.
“It was really tough in the beginning when I didn’t have the capital or the experience yet,” Misuraca said. “At this point, we really only recruit off our relationships. It’s a lot easier now with what we have built. We work really hard for our guys and in turn they help vouch for who we are and how we operate.”
Some of the more high-profile clients of SLASH Sports & Entertainment include Nick Young, Isaiah Austin, James McAdoo, Jabari Brown and Jamaal Franklin. There currently are more than a dozen players at SLASH with NBA service.
Young, nicknamed Swaggy P, won an NBA championship with the Golden State Warriors in 2018. He played 12 seasons for six different franchises.
Austin, a former Baylor standout, was on track to be a first-round pick in 2014 before being diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome, while McAdoo helped the Warriors win two NBA championships.
Brown was a former starting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, while Franklin has played for the Memphis Grizzlies and Denver Nuggets.
“I’ve built a real niche in servicing fringe NBA players because of our relationships in the NBA, China and Europe,” Misuraca said. “We diligently assess all of their markets and help the player to make an educated decision on what makes sense for them. Many of our guys have taken more lucrative multimillion-dollar deals to play in China over contracts in the NBA, where others have opted for a larger role in the Euroleague [the strongest competition in the world outside of the NBA] in order to further a better contract/role within the NBA for the following year.
“I work hard to make sure they know their true market and are in the best possible position for long term success.”
Misuraca has put himself in a position to help players just starting their careers, in their primes and/or looking for one more opportunity to catch somebody’s eye. And he’s loving his role in his clients’ careers.
“We’re here for our guys 24/7. This is everything to me. I’m a former player, so I really know the game,” Misuraca said. “As an attorney, I also understand the legal side when it comes to the structuring of deals and protecting our clients’ interests. My background in business/MBA allow me to also see the game from a different light. It is why our players’ careers both on and off the court continue to evolve over time.”