Certified Agents: Frequently Asked Questions

Agents / FAQs

What are the steps to becoming a Certified NBPA Agent?

The NBPA has a thorough review process for each applicant who wishes to become a certified NBPA Agent. Below is a breakdown of the application process:


Step 1 - Complete your application and submit the required payment.  Once your application is submitted and your payment is received, your application undergoes an initial review process to ensure all sections are complete and all necessary documents and information are submitted.


Step 2 - Upon confirmation of payment you will receive access to educational resources that will help you prepare for the exam.


Step 3 - Your application will then be subject to review and a background investigation will be conducted. Prior to conducting a background investigation, you will receive communications from Global Background Services, our outside background investigation service. This phase entails verification of the information provided on your application, including verification of your education, professional certificates, work experience, civil and criminal history, as well as your social media platforms.  


Additionally, you may be contacted by a member of the NBPA Legal department should there be any questions or concerns regarding your results. If so, you will be asked to provide additional details and may be required to provide supporting documentation.


Tip: It is better to disclose anything that may come up during your background investigation within your application for two reasons; (1) to avoid delay in the application process should we be inclined to follow up for additional information and (2) failure to disclose material facts about your history may result in denial of your application. Please note, failure to disclose any material fact may impact the decision to approve or deny your application.


Step 4 - Applicants will receive notice (via email) whether or not they are approved to take the upcoming Agent Exam. Approved applicants will be provided with details such as exam date and time.


Step 5 - Study! The CBA sections covered in the exam, as well as sample exam questions are available within this FAQ. Please read the FAQ section thoroughly.


Step 6 - Sit for the examination. The exam is scheduled each year between January and March and is administered virtually. Please be advised that the NBPA will administer only one exam each year.


Step 7 - Examination results are typically distributed within two to three weeks from the date of the exam. Applicants will be notified that they either passed or failed the exam. Applicants will not be able to review the exam, their answers, or the results. Applicants who did not successfully pass the exam will be informed of the refund process. Those who pass the exam will be provided their NBPA Agent Certification, credentials to access the NBPA Agent Portal and additional relevant resources.


During the application review process, please do not inquire about the status of your application. Due to the volume of applications received, status updates are not provided. 


Please be sure to add "legal@nbpa.com" to your email address book and periodically check your spam and junk mail for our email to ensure you do not miss any communications! 

How do I apply to become a certified NBPA Agent?

The application to become a Certified NBPA Agent will be posted on the Becoming An Agent section of NBPA.com during the applicable application window. The application window for the 2023 NBPA Agent Certification exam will open on August 1, 2022 and close on October 31, 2022. 


Applications must be submitted electronically.  Submissions received by mail will not be accepted. Application fees must also be sent electronically and must be received at the time of submission of an application. 


Payment plans and/or extensions for the NBPA Agent Exam are not available. Applications submitted without sufficient funds for the full application fee will be denied and applicants will be subject to additional fees should they reapply in the future. 


Are there any educational prerequisites to become a certified Agent?

Yes, an applicant must have received a degree from an accredited four year college or university, provided that the NBPA, in its unreviewable discretion, may accept relevant negotiating experience to substitute for any year(s) of formal education.


Proof that an applicant meets the minimum education requirements must be provided in order to submit your application.  If an applicant does not meet the requirements, such relevant negotiating experience must be submit with an application. 


If you have not yet obtained your Bachelors degree but will have prior to the exam date, you may still apply but must provide the following:

1) Signed and dated letter from your college/university admissions office confirming your expected graduation date.

2) Current transcripts showing your active enrollment in pursuit of your degree.

3) Proof or graduation must be provided to the NBPA Legal department (legal@nbpa.com) in order to sit for the exam. Your diploma should also be provided upon receipt. 

Please be advised: It is your responsibility to complete your application by providing your degree/diploma to the NBPA. Applicants will not receive reminders or requests to provide their degree.

What does “Accredited College or University” mean?

A College or University recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), or the Office of Degree Authorization (ODA). Any foreign institution must have the foreign equivalent of U.S. approved accreditation as determined by the Office of Degree Authorization. 


CLICK HERE  for U.S. Accredited Colleges or Universities 

Can I preview the Agent Application before beginning the process?

Yes, to preview a sample submitted NBPA Agent Application, please see below:

Sample 2021 NBPA Agent Application


Are international applicants permitted to apply and sit for the exam?

Yes -- Within the application you will indicate that you are a non-U.S. citizen and will be directed to provide any necessary additional documents required for international applicants. 

Are there fees to apply for certification?

Yes.  Upon submission of an application, applicants will be required to make a payment of $2,000.00.  Fees are processed through PayPal (with the exception of wire transfers for international applicants).  Payment via cash, check or credit card is not permitted.


The breakdown of what that payment covers is as follows:


1) A $750.00 non-refundable application fee.  This fee covers all expenses related to the review of you application and background investigation, as well as access to educational resources that will help you review for the agent exam.


2) Pro-rated Agent Dues of $1,250.00 for the then current NBA Season, covering you from the date of certification through June 30 of that Season.  In the event you do not successfully complete the background investigation or pass the agent exam, then this amount will be refunded to you.


Failure to remit payment in a timely manner from the date your application was submitted will result in a denial of your application. 

Agent Exam Preparation - Study Guides & Sample Questions

The NBPA does not provide official practice exams, however, sample exam questions can be found at the bottom of this section.   Additionally, the educational resources provided may contain practice exams, although these are not officially endorsed by the NBPA.


The Agent exam is authored and administered only by the NBPA and no external entities are consulted or granted access to the contents of the exam, which may change from year to year. Applicants are encouraged to be cautious of third parties seeking payment in exchange for preparation courses or claiming to have the ability to certify an individual as a NBPA Agent. 


While agents should be familiar with the CBA in its entirety, for the purposes of the exam, the following sections of the CBA may be used a guideline for what is covered on the exam: 

  • Article II

  • Article VII (excluding subsection1)

  • Article VIII

  • Article IX

  • Article X

  • Article XI

  • Article XII

  • Article XXIV

  • Article XXV

  • Article XXVII

  • Article XXIX

  • Article XXXVI

  • Article XLI

  • Exhibit A-C


SAMPLE NBPA AGENT EXAM QUESTIONS: 

Question 1: The Nuggets have $10M in Cap Room in the 2017 off-season.  They then sign John Denver, who played the prior season with the Phoenix Suns, to a 1-Year $10M contract.  Next, the Nuggets want to sign their 2017 2nd Round Draft pick to a 1-Year contract paying him the highest Salary possible.

How much can they pay their 2nd Round Pick?

a)     $815,615 – using the Minimum Salary Exception
b)     $1,546,758 – using the Rookie Scale Exception
c)     $4,328,000 – using the Mid-Level for Room Exception
d)    $8,406,000 – using the Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception

Correct Answer: C. A team doesn't get to use BOTH Salary Cap Room AND the mid-level exception. Once they create room, the exceptions essentially are replaced by the room.  The only "exception" to this general principle (other than the one-year minimum salary, which teams can always give), is the "Room Exception," which is specifically granted for teams that go under the Cap to use Room.  They get rewarded by having this additional exception to sign an additional player.  In our hypothetical, a team that is under the Cap by more than the amount of the Mid-level exception, does not get to use their Room AND also the mid-level exception.

Question 2: The Jazz want to trade Bob Cousy, who was signed to a one-year contract for $4M on July 10, 2019, to the Magic; only $2M of Cousy's Salary is protected for Skill and Injury/Illness.  The Jazz are interested in trading only Cousy and no other players.  Additionally, no matter how the trade is structured, the Jazz will be under the Luxury Tax after the trade.

What is the maximum amount of Salary the Jazz can receive in the trade?
a)     $2,000,000
b)    $3,600,000
c)     $4,000,000
d)    $7,100,000


Correct Answer: B. Non-taxpayers can receive 175% of a player's salary back in a trade, plus $100,000. While the player may make $4m this year, for trade purposes a player is considered to make only what they have earned/guaranteed this season. Since the player is only guaranteed $2m, it is $2m*1.75+$100,000= $3.6 million. 

Question 3: Gary Warren terminates his SPAC with his Agent on August 15, 2017.  When can you sign Gary to a new SPAC?

a)  August 16, 2017
b)  August 30, 2017
c)  September 15, 2017
d)  August 16, 2018

Correct Answer: B. After the 15-day cooling off period has expired. 


Is there a review session prior to the exam?

The NBPA no longer offers a review session prior to the exam, as we are now supplying all applicants with an abundance of educational resources once an application payment is received. 

What happens if I do not pass this year's exam?

If you do not pass this year's exam you will receive a refund of the prorated dues amount. You may reapply during the following application window.  At this time, there is not a limit for the number of times an applicant may sit for the exam.

If I pass the examination, when can I begin to represent NBA players?

You may begin to hold yourself out as a Certified NBPA Agent upon notification that you have passed the NBPA exam and have received of your Certificate. 

Be advised that passing the exam is a requirement for certification.  If you hold yourself out or act in any capacity as an NBPA Agent prior to passing the exam, your application for certification may be denied. 

Does my NBPA certification automatically permit me to represent NCAA and international players?

Your certification as an NBPA Agent only grants you the ability to represent and negotiate contracts on behalf of NBA players. Please contact the appropriate regulating bodies for information pertaining to certification requirements of NCAA and international players (FIBA). Additionally, please note that there are also State and Federal regulations which govern individuals involved with amateur or professional athletes. To view your state’s requirements, please click here

How do I maintain my certification after passing the exam?

After becoming certified, your next responsibility is to attend one of the three Agent Seminars offered towards the end conclusion of the then current Season. You must attend one Seminar for the first three years of your certification and may opt-out every other year thereafter. The Seminars are one day (usually around 8 hours) and are traditionally offered in LA, Chicago, and NYC. Agents are responsible for travel and lodging. Please be advised that the requirements for attending Agent Seminars are subject to change at any time at the sole discretion of the NBPA  

In addition to attending the Agent Seminar, agents must submit their annual dues payment by July 1 every year. An applicant who is certified in January/February will be required to make their initial dues payment on July 1 in order to remain certified for the upcoming NBA Season. 

Annual Dues: Who, How, and When ?

The annual fee is currently $2,500 and is due on July 1st. Please note that the fee associated with your application is prorated for the remainder of that season. Six months post certification, you will be required to pay an additional $2,500 for the upcoming season in order to maintain your certification. For example agents certified after the 2022 exam will be required to make their first annual dues payment on July 1, 2022. 


After an agent’s initial 6-months of certification, agent dues are applied on a per season (July 1–June 30) and are calculated based on the number of players an certified Agent represented from the previous season:

  • For Agents with 0-9 players: $2,500.00

  • For Agents with 10-19 players: $5,000.00

  • For Agents with 20 players or more: $7,500.00

I did not pass the last examination successfully, or my application was approved and I was unable to sit for the exam, how should I reapply for the next agent exam?

All returning applicants will need to resubmit a complete application during the application window, including submitting all relevant application fees and successfully completing a background investigation.