18 years old and mentored by highly respected trainer Justin Allen, allowing him opportunities to aid athletes such as James Harden, Mecole Hardman, and N’Keal Harry in their training. Rajah Ali is quickly making a name for himself in the NBA/NFL sports industries and it won’t be long before he is a certified agent, offering a tight-knit relationship with his clientele. This type of relationship is the polar opposite of the high-end, overpopulated agencies that tend to dominate the market.
For Rajah, it all began just as it does for most people that have heavy sports influences surrounding them – enjoying his time watching sports and training on his own when he began to cross paths with extraordinary athletes at his local gyms in Houston, Texas.
“I loved watching sports as a kid, and I would always go to the gym. There would be D1 players around me, so eventually, I would just start helping them out, and then once you’re around them they can give you the knowledge to keep proceeding into the game of sports. So that made me go into managing players, public relations, marketing, and all that.”
There are an extremely limited amount of athletes that are able to make it to the professional leagues, 450 roster spots in the NBA specifically, and only the highest percentile are able to see those dreams come to fruition. Rajah realized he was able to maintain his ground in the world of sports by aiding these top percentile athletes in their training and eventually manage them as well.
Currently, Ali is operating with a highly respected trainer, Justin Allen, and boasts an undeniably impressive resume at his young age that include big-time players such as Deebo Samuel, Earl Thomas, Ross Blacklock, and countless more. He sees his diversity and experiences across varying major sports as an opportunity to bring training concepts to the table which player that is focused solely on one sport likely has not considered.
While Rajah Ali’s current comfort zone may revolve around training, he is far from satisfied and will be obtaining his NBA/NFL agent certifications come February of 2021. This does not imply that the prior training knowledge goes out the window for Ali, as all professional athletes necessitate both an agent and trainer in their corner – Rajah is able to offer both.
“My goal is to expand. What I’m trying to do is start my own agency up and it would be like a training agency also so I make sure my player would get good reps in at the same time. My main goal is to take care of ALL my players, because sometimes with bigger agencies it’s harder to focus on the small players.”
Larger agencies will continually have connections to fall back on, but their priority will eternally be on the clients that they classify as the top of the food chain, resulting in the “lower tier” players being overlooked far too frequently. Rajah Ali refuses to let that be the case and assigns a clear emphasis on his relationship with present and future clients, with trust between them being of the utmost importance.
While other agencies may be able to pitch more experience in the NBA/NFL industry, Rajah argues that growing together allows an opportunity to establish a bond that goes beyond business and will lead to mutual success for him and his clients.
When we get to the league at the same time we both build together, and that’s what builds the best relationship. I feel like players would really appreciate that with me because we’d be training together, we’d be working out together, and we’d talk on a daily basis watching film and how to work on our game and make it better.”
Ali is an all-in-one shop for football and basketball players from all levels. Whether it be high school, mid-majors, Division 1 colleges, overseas leagues, the NFL, or the NBA while also currently preparing to extend his horizons to encompass the realms of baseball and soccer. Every athlete desires the opportunity to showcase their talents at the highest level and earn lifechanging paychecks that are available in the major leagues, and Ali recognizes training, his specialization, as the way to attain those heights.
Yet, there are plenty of names who train and perform at elite levels but simply do not appeal to the most distinguished leagues due to concerning attitudes or concerns separate from the sport itself. Rajah is moving forward with an intelligent understanding that there is more to the game that what is shown on TV and on the court/field, chiefly revolving around the communities that molded us.
It’s always a must to be good off the court. Because before you got to the NBA, you were always off the court and not in the spotlight… you gotta remember where you’re from.”
Rajah does this by ensuring his players remain active in their communities, explaining that a strong public image in conjunction with performing at an elite level in their respective sports is the key to long term success. After all, it’s those communities that will support you on your journey to the professional leagues, and throughout your career within it.
First, I always make sure the players I work with are active in the community and looking out for everybody. During this quarantine, some of our players are giving back with food, masks, and all that. We do donations where we go out to nurses… So that’s how we make sure we’re active in the community… making sure that we look out for our community.
Rajah has an in-depth understanding of the sports industry that goes beyond his age and is far from content with his current level of understanding as he is currently sharpening various skills that will undoubtedly aid him in his future as an agent for both NBA/NFL clientele.
I’m always involved in the sports industry whether it’s on or off the court. This allows me to continuously expand my knowledge and understanding of the game, which helps me grow every day.
Training is a vital aspect comparable to representation and Rajah trending upwards in both perspectives from an already impressive base operating with superstars across numerous leagues. Rajah is also an advocate of utilizing training methods across sports taking aspects from both the NBA/NFL and using them among his clients, something which saw James Harden doing footwork drills in sand this past week.
James Harden would be working on his footwork and we’d be in the sand so putting that into his game he would really excel when the NBA starts up.
This focus on cross-training, is part of a bigger focus for Rajah and how he approaches the concept of improvement. The ability to continually improve and hone your skills is of paramount importance for Rajah, and in his opinion is the only sure fire way to keep moving up in the financial aspect of the players career.
The main goal is training, because training leads you to bigger contracts. Training is a must and you always need training to help you get to the next level. So really, my pitch would be training, the workouts, the sponsorships – because sponsorships are a big name today in the sports industry. I would be offering connections with sponsorships, I would be able to give them good training services because I work with the best trainers in the game in Houston, that players fly from other cities to come train with.
With a strong team by his side, Rajah is confident in his ability to quickly upscale his services as an agent once he has passed the exam. When asked about his realistic targets over the first five years of his career, Rajah was bullishly confident about the ability of his backroom team.
“At minimum 25 players, because I’ll be having a team behind my back.
As with all upcoming sports agents, who focus on both the NBA/NFL markets, Rajah has begun building relationships with teams overseas ensuring there are viable options for his clients that need a few extra years development before jumping to the big leagues.
I actually take a further look into overseas players, helping them get to where they want to be. I had a Russian team reach out to me a few days ago and then a Euro League team too. Right now I’m currently seeing who I could send over to their team and who would be the best fit for those teams in order to get them to the next bigger league after that
One thing is for sure though, this may be the first time you are hearing of the name Rajah Ali, but he can easily guarantee it is nowhere the last as he continues to traverse every hurdle thrown his way to become a viable option to NBA/NFL hopefuls in the near future.