Sports World Matchmaker
Alum works with professional athletes and team owners
Thursday, July 26, 2018
In the sometimes glamorous, occasionally heartbreaking and highly personal work world of Marc Cornstein ’92, a tested maxim holds steady.
“It’s all about the relationships.”
For more than 20 years, he’s been finessing player-team marriages across the globe.
Now, Cornstein is expanding into brokering pieces of professional teams to buyers domestically and internationally.
“It’s completely a network— and relationship — driven business,” and one that demands he is constantly within reach of his cell phone.
“When clients want to move forward, they expect a quick response. In the heat of the deal, you have to be on call.”
He continues to represent players individually on contracts and other negotiations as president and founder of Pinnacle Management Corporation in New York City.
In 2016, Cornstein sold a piece of the Minnesota Timberwolves to the first Chinese national to own part of an NBA team.
This fall, he joined Financo, an investment bank also located in Manhattan, as part of his expanding team acquisition work.
Sometimes, it is many months before buyers and sellers come to agreement.
“Patience, a lot of patience,” Cornstein said, is part of his professional toolkit.
ILR’s flexible curriculum offering freedom for upperclassmen to choose among a range of courses “was great preparation” for representing diverse clients who are often in tense negotiations, he said.
“I really loved my time at ILR and the freedom I had to take different types of courses.”
Representing elite athletes — such as 23 National Basketball Association players who were either first- or second-round draft picks — is an honor, he said.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling to have someone entrust their professional career to you.”
He’s worked with players such as Darko Milicic, second only to LeBron James in the 2003 NBA draft; Yuta Tabuse, the first NBA player born in Japan; Metta World Peace, who first earned acclaim as Ron Artest; and Kris Humphries, who was married to Kim Kardashian.
Cornstein said he is elated when he signs a contract with a client, but the lows of his profession follow suit.
“You give your heart and soul, and if they release you, that is painful — an awful feeling.”
Although many believe business and personal lives should never mix, it is almost impossible to be a sports agent and not become friends with clients, many of whom lead colorful lives, Cornstein said, chuckling. “Every time you think you’ve seen it all, you haven’t come close.”