Try as you might, it’s nearly im­pos­si­ble to talk about pro­fes­sional ath­letes with­out ac­knowl­edg­ing the peo­ple work­ing be­hind the scenes. For if sports is a busi­ness, it’s up to sports agents to make sure their clients get paid. Here are the most pow­er­ful

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Scott Bo­ras ($132.3 mil­lion)

Scott Bo­ras, quite lit­er­ally a one­man cor­po­ra­tion, is the top sports agent in the world. A na­tive Cal­i­for­nian and lawyer by trade, Bo­ras is the only sports agent in the world with more than $2 bil­lion in ac­tive player con­tracts. Both re­spected and feared by gen­eral man­agers and those who must ne­go­ti­ate against him, Bo­ras has es­tab­lished him­self as the most suc­cess­ful ath­lete ad­vo­cate in the his­tory of sports.

Jorge Men­des ($72.7 mil­lion)

Jorge Men­des has thrice been recog­nised as the very best— Fifa’s ‘Agent of the Year’ award— by his peers. Men­des, who once worked as a DJ af­ter his soc­cer ca­reer ended pre­ma­turely, be­gan his ca­reer fo­cused pri­mar­ily on Por­tuguese play­ers. Cur­rently, Men­des’ ac­tive client con­tracts are worth nearly $1 bil­lion, head­lined by Real Madrid for­ward Cris­tiano Ron­aldo.

Sam & Seth Levin­son ($55.4 mil­lion)

The Broth­ers Levin­son are based (From left) Scott Bo­ras; and Jorge Men­des out of Brook­lyn, New York. A.C.E.S., the brain­child of the Levin­sons, hosts nearly $900,000,000 in con­tracts of ac­tive Ma­jor League Base­ball play­ers. Re­cently, Sam and Seth Levin­son ar­chi­tected Jon Lester’s con­tract with Chicago Cubs.

Casey Close ($55.1 mil­lion)

Although his ca­reer play­ing for the Yan­kees didn’t pan out the way he thought it would, Casey did go on to rep­re­sent one of the play­ers to wear Pin­stripes—Derek Jeter. Fol­low­ing a ca­reer in the mi­nors, Close joined IMG’s base­ball di­vi­sion be­fore even­tu­ally mov­ing to CAA and then Excel Sports, where he now rep­re­sents the likes of Fred­die Free­man, Zach Greinke and Masahiro Tanaka.

Jeff Schwartz ($52.1 mil­lion)

Founder and pres­i­dent of Excel Sports, Jeff Schwartz has spent more than a decade as one of basketball’s top sports agents. Schwartz’s mas­ter­ful ne­go­ti­a­tion of Kevin Love’s re­cent $109-m ex­ten­sion with the Cleve­land Cava­liers has helped firmly ce­ment Schwartz and Excel as lead­ers in sports rep­re­sen­ta­tion and mar­ket­ing.

Greg Genske ($47.6 mil­lion)

Greg Genske is one of the most dy­namic agents in base­ball. An in­ter­na­tional agent ex­traor­di­naire, Genske’s New­port Beach of­fice serves as a home base for his ex­ten­sive South and Latin Amer­i­can con­tacts. Genske’s clients in­clude Jose Reyes, Maicer Iz­turis, and An­gel Pa­gan.

Pat Bris­son ($40.2 mil­lion)

CAA hockey co-head Bris­son is one of the most pro­lific agents in the sport. Bris­son has rep­re­sented five num­ber one NHL draft picks over the last decade, in­clud­ing Sid­ney Crosby, for whom be ne­go­ti­ated a 12-year, $104.4-mil­lion ex­ten­sion with the Pitts­burgh Pen­guins.

Tom Con­don ($39.6 mil­lion)

Tom Con­don, a for­mer of­fen­sive line­man for the Kansas City Chiefs, is one of the most dy­namic agents in all of sports. Con­don earned his law de­gree dur­ing the off­sea­son and even rep­re­sented fel­low team­mates as an ac­tive player. Con­don served as the pres­i­dent of the NFLPA from 1984-1986.

Jonathan Bar­nett ($37.6 mil­lion)

While Bar­nett’s first client was leg­endary cricket player Brian Lara, he has made a name for him­self since then rep­re­sent­ing some of the world’s best soc­cer play­ers. Rep­re­sent­ing well over 100 play­ers throughout dozens of global leagues, Bar­nett man­ages the largest ros­ter of clients of any sin­gle agent in the Forbes Top 50. Bar­nett is also of­ten given credit for in­tro­duc­ing Len­nox Lewis into pro­fes­sional box­ing.

Mino Raiola ($35.6 mil­lion)

The enig­matic Raiola has made a name for him­self rep­re­sent­ing the world’s most elite soc­cer play­ers. While not much is known about his meth­ods, Raiola has at­tracted a sta­ble of clients who have not only great skills, but enor­mous pop­u­lar­ity among fans. In­cluded among those are Ital­ian striker Mario Balotelli and the salty Swedish su­per­star Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic.

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