A Professional Athlete’s Playbook to Avoiding the Curse

It's more than a game;
it's more than money;
it's your life!"

This book will help aspiring professional athletes and their families avoid the curse that, oftentimes, comes with the professional sports culture.

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Tywanna Smith is the President and Founder of The Athlete's Nexus, A Sports Marketing & Business Management Group for professional athletes. As a registered financial representative and athlete business manager, she has worked with elite NBA, NFL, and overseas athletes in both a financial and business capacity for a decade. Her experience as a former professional athlete and sports agency Director of Marketing gives her the insight to help her clients navigate the obstacles of professional sports for lifelong success. She takes pride in her business professionalism and integrity.

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Why do so many NFL and NBA athletes struggle to lead productive, successful lives when they retire?
Why do they invest in their talent but not their life?
Don't they know their playing days have an expiration date?

The bigger question is: Why don't college athletes prepare to be professionals like they prepare to be professional athletes? Why do they repeat their predecessor's mistakes? Isn't that insanity?

By studying this playbook, aspiring NBA, NFL, and other professional athletes will be able to create a blueprint to prepare them to navigate the world of professional sports and successfully transition into the final stage of their lives. This playbook takes a proactive approach in addressing the common issues that plague athletes enabling them to move forward strategically and with purpose. This is your opportunity to change your thinking so that you can change the game! By reading this book, you will give yourself a better shot at Surviving the Lights!


Scholars (Schlossberg, Waters, & Goodman, 1995) define transition as any event or non-event that results in changes in relationships, routines, assumptions, and roles. As it relates to sports, many athletes will face this difficult reality once their playing careers conclude. Surviving the Lights provides insights and strategies for athletes to employ to assist them as they exit the playing field to the next stage of life.”
Dr. Jamil Northcutt, NFL Director of Football Administration
Tywanna’s book, “Surviving the Lights: A Professional Athlete’s Playbook to Avoiding the Curse,” is spot on and is the perfect blueprint to assist and guide our young student-athletes through the most exciting, but pressure filled and stressful time in their lives. Awesome job, Tywanna!”
Candy Murray, Former Vice President of the Moms of Professional Basketball Players (MPBP) organization & Mom of Retired NBA player and current Lakers Assistant Coach Tracy Murray
When I was drafted into the NBA, I had no idea what to expect. I wish I had this book in college. I am thankful to have had Tywanna as my business manager, but more importantly, as my friend.”
Sonny Weems, Current NBA and Euro-League All-Star
At the core of our mission in collegiate athletics is preparing student-athletes for the next phase in life. Tywanna's message focuses on the same values that we share with young people every day. Having a game plan to tackle the challenges in life is critical to forging a happy and healthy lifestyle."
Kevin Anderson, Athletic Director at The University of Maryland
NFL players, and other professional athletes, should always remember to remain humble and remember that the proper planning of funds, living a well, yet modest lifestyle, and organization of responsibilities will last much longer than splurging and spending aimlessly on things that fade away. Surviving the Lights takes a proactive approach to helping collegiate athletes and their families develop a plan to address those critical success areas.”
Terrance Metcalf, 7-year NFL Veteran and current assistant coach at Pearl River Community College
As a former collegiate athlete, I wish I had a mentor and someone who could prepare me for the challenges that came with that privilege. Thanks to my friend, Tywanna, current and future college athletes can use this book as a guide to surviving issues that many collegiate and professional athletes face.”
Clarence Jones, NBA, NFL, and NCAA custom clothier; Owner of CJ Custom Clothier (His NFL client won Best Dressed in the 2016 NFL Draft)
Surviving the Lights is just what the sports world needs right now. It's an honest wake up call for professional and college athletes alike to understand the magnitude of the responsibilities that come along with being in the limelight. It serves as a guide to show them how to take ownership of their lives and their careers from start-to-finish and to create a legacy that will honor them and their family name for decades to come.”
Yolanda Moore, Two-Time WNBA Champion & Author of Sell Out! Rules for Finding Work You Love
“In my 17 years as an NBA sports agent, I’ve seen a lot of guys make mistakes because they were unprepared to handle the business side of professional sports. I’ve known and worked with Tywanna for many years, and I applaud her efforts to educate and guide young athletes and their families.”
Roger Montgomery, Sports Agent at RocNation Sports Group
“I enjoyed a successful 15-year career in the NBA and Europe, and there aren’t many people that understand what it takes to play that long and be able to retire on your own terms. I have watched Tywanna grow into one of the brightest minds in the sports business, and she is the perfect person to address these issues.”
Marcus Brown, Retired NBA & Euro-League Legend, Murray State & Arkansas Sports Hall of Famer