Master Class

The first lady NFL agent focuses on impacting lives.

story by James Corley | photos by Brandon Smith

In conjunction with the Super Bowl this weekend, Women Rising and its co-founder Kelli Masters, host an Atlanta event celebrating the contribution of women in the NFL. The 2019 event honors women making a difference. Learn more here. We are reposting our Spring 2017 profile of Oklahoma's esteemed sports agent and former Miss Oklahoma.

When Oklahoma City native Kelli Masters receives a text or email asking for advice about becoming a sports agent, she tells the senders—more than a handful weekly—it might look like a dream job, but it’s actually a calling. It's not something to do because you love sports or want to help athletes; you have to have a truly deep passion for it.

"It's going to be a sacrifice: personally, financially, mentally," she said. "If you're willing to make the sacrifice for a deeper calling, then let's talk. If you think it's going to be really fun and you're going to get to go to football games and have a good time, this isn't for you. There will be years and years of pain and sacrifice."

Kelli Masters in her favorite OKC chill-out place, Crystal Bridge at Myriad Botanical Gardens.

A commitment to excellence and a higher calling runs like a thread through Masters’ career. She’s won numerous awards in her field, and served on the Professional Responsibility Tribunal for the state for six years running. Yet she took a winding road to get there. She remembers sitting in a law orientation at OCU when the professor asked for a show of hands. "How many of you are here to become sports agents?" All around the room, eager arms shot up into the air. She remembers wondering why anyone would want that job.

"It was not even on my radar," she said.

At that time, Masters was considering a career in journalism. As an undergrad, she was an intern with News 9 during a year that saw O.J. Simpson on trial for murder and the Murrah Federal Building bombed by domestic terrorists. She remembers that April day, when she heard the news and went straight to the station to help field information requests from desperate family members and media all over the country. A law degree, she thought, would help her ask better questions and form a deeper understanding of the issues. By her third year in law school, though, she wasn't even sure she wanted to finish.

"I hit a wall and felt really empty," Masters said. "I felt like I didn't know what my real purpose was in life other than to make sure everyone around me was proud of me and thought I was successful."

Check out the USA Today story on lady agents + Sports Spectrum podcast for an interview with Kelli from last summer.