Arnold continues his love for athletics as a sports agent

Before+sitting+down+to+enjoy+lunch%2C+alumnus+Orlando+Arnold+%28third+from+left%29+takes+a+moment+to+pose+with+the+professional+athletes+that+he+represents.++Those+athletes+are+Anthony+Gomez+who+is+a+member+of+the+Washington+Nationals+Organization%2C+Rusber+Estrada%2C+a+member+of+the+Atlanta+Braves+Organization%2C+and+%28far+right%29+Jonathan+Ward%2C+a+running+back+for+the+Arizona+Cardinals.+

Before sitting down to enjoy lunch, alumnus Orlando Arnold (third from left) takes a moment to pose with the professional athletes that he represents. Those athletes are Anthony Gomez who is a member of the Washington Nationals Organization, Rusber Estrada, a member of the Atlanta Braves Organization, and (far right) Jonathan Ward, a running back for the Arizona Cardinals.

Camille Zanders, Alumni Connection Editor

Alumnus Orlando Arnold (STANLEY BABB)

Though most people on this planet have a love or passion for a specific area of interest, only a select few are courageous enough to make a career out of it.
In a society where government and corporate life are the praised standard, individuals work every day to combine their passion with their careers. Once successful in merging the two, many find that it is no longer work or a job, but instead a purpose.
Alabama State University alumnus Orlando Arnold advocates that theory as he has successfully turned his lifelong love for baseball, and other sports, into a thriving corporate establishment, Pyramid Sports & Entertainment Group, based out of Miami, Florida.
Now working with the next generation of athletes, Arnold serves not only as their sports agent but also their biggest fan.
“I love it,” says Arnold. “I get to interact with great young men, women, and their families. It is rewarding to me to watch somebody’s dreams come true.”

Born and reared in Detroit, Michigan, Arnold grew up around a number of different sports. With both of his parents being involved in adult athletics, and Detroit being the home of four professional sports leagues, some of his earliest memories are in sports settings.
“I can remember being on the baseball field as early as six months old,” Arnold said. “I was just born and bred in it.”
As a child, he especially was attracted to baseball, a sport that would pave the way for his college and professional career.
During his teenage years, Arnold attended Detroit’s Redford High School, where he strengthened his skills on the field. As additional extracurriculars, he took part in many activities at his church, Tabernacle Missionary Baptist, where he served on the usher board, sang in the choir, and was a part of their bowling and basketball teams.
“I am an only child so there was not anything that I did not do,” he says humorously. While he dabbled in many pastimes, his heart remained on the diamond field.
Upon his graduation from high school in 2000, it was his skill and love that earned him a scholarship to play baseball as an Alabama State University Hornet.
“I knew that I was going to play baseball in college,” Arnold said. “I knew I was good enough for a scholarship but I did not know that I was going to an HBCU until I got there. But once I got to ASU and learned the pride of being at an HBCU, and then I learned the pride of being an HBCU alumnus, I put that on the forefront of everything that I do. All those skills, traits, and feelings have molded me into who I am today.”
Though he first held the childhood dream of going into law enforcement, and then into culinary arts, Arnold decided on communications upon his enrollment as an ASU student. It was then that he first imagined a life where his passion aligned with his profession.
Remembering his time during freshman orientation he said, “They asked me what I wanted to major in and I thought in that instant ‘Well, if I do not make it to the league then I would still want to work with sports and I want to talk about sports.’ so I majored in communications.”
Arnold later declared business administration as his minor, as he hoped to eventually utilize his “entrepreneurial mindset” in his career.
While a student, and outside of his activity as a skilled baseball player, Arnold also became a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., a member of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, and was active in the communications department as he interned with the WVAS-FM 90.7 radio station and took part in the creation of the Hornets Sports Buzz Broadcast.
“I was not part of any official clubs, I was just Orlando. I was active within a lot, but for what I wanted to do at the time, there were not that many clubs,” he said.
Making a name for himself through the Hornets Sports Buzz, he was able to get the first taste of his career dreams, utilizing his affection for athletics in a communications-driven setting.
Arnold’s favorite memories as a student exhibit the brotherhood and unity that may only be experienced by attending an HBCU. His most favorite being his first time attending the Magic City Classic with his “big brother,” Russia Reed, and longtime friend, Ernest Purnell III.
“You hear stories about college road trips where you just hop in the car and go, but that is literally what we did,” Arnold said.
Though the weekend of Magic City Classic is sacred among the Hornet Nation, Arnold and Purnell did not have plans to attend considering they did not have any means to get there. Not wanting them to miss out on the festivities, Reed came in to rescue the duo by offering a ride.
“That just shows the bond of being in an HBCU family,” Arnold insists. “That family environment, that care, that love transcends throughout your time there.”
Considering he played an active role on campus, Arnold fondly remembers many of the ASU faculty as they were crucial in his development.
At the top of his list is Coach Larry Watkins, the longtime ASU baseball coach who introduced him to Hornet life.
“He was the reason I was at Alabama State University,” Arnold said. “Even in my time as a graduate, coach was always positive, always supported me, and has just been a great role model and figure in my life.”

Alumnus Orlando Arnold accompanies Jonathan Ward, a running back for the Arizona Cardinals to the Arizona Cardinals workout facility. Arnold is the president of Pyramid Sports & Entertainment Group, where he represents professional athletes.

He also appreciates Rhuhaiminimia Laffitte, a senior secretary for the communications department.
“Her level of care, attention, and commitment to excellence, not only for herself but for the whole communications department, is unmatched,” emphasized Arnold. He adamantly believes that without her, he, along with many of his classmates, might not have finished the communications program as seamlessly as they did.
Arnold also cherishes his time working with Kamela Kennedy, who he grew close with while getting acclimated to Greek life.
“She has supported me in any and everything that I have done,” Arnold remembers. “Always speaking so highly of me, teaching and showing new things, and just giving bits of wisdom.”
Upon graduating in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in communications and a minor in business administration, Arnold decided to take a year off from his career and graduate education pursuits to build funds while working in the hospitality industry.
He soon rejoined the ASU communications department, but this time as an employee. Now employed as the host for the Hornet Sports Buzz broadcast and as a sideline reporter for ASU’s football team, he was able to start his career while at home base.
Always supported and encouraged by his Hornet family, Arnold soon decided to further his studies at the graduate level.

“I always knew that I wanted to do something at a higher level,” he says.
After earning his master’s in business administration from Troy University in Troy, Alabama in 2010, he planned to partner his degrees with his love for sports and people to open a chain of sports lounges.
As he progressed into higher positions within the hospitality industry, the aspect of sales began to become incorporated into his work. In 2009, he began working as the distributor sales representative for Merchants Foodservice.
Arnold was responsible for building and managing the customer database while also maintaining sales activity.
“I like talking to people,” he said. “I like moving and grooving and seeing new things each day, so I fell in love with the aspect of sales and negotiation.”
His success landed him the position as the special sales representative of inVentiv Health Commercial in 2012, where he worked to advance the pharmaceutical industry. The same type of work continued as he began working with Meda in 2013.
While he made a living through his work in sales, Arnold fulfilled his passions for athletics as a volunteer for the Major League Baseball Reviving Baseball in Inner City (RBI) Program.
Aimed to provide adequate training and opportunity to underrepresented youth, Arnold spent his free time catering to the dreams of the next generation of baseball and softball players.
“We were able to get some amazing kids from the Montgomery and River Region area college scholarships,” Arnold said. Little did he know that this work would not only provide opportunities for the children but also kick-start his true career.
From working with the RBI Program, and his prior connections, he was able to build relationships with various professional and college athletes who were not satisfied with their representation. As the athletes would complain about the lack of transparency, communication, and just overall family-like culture with their agents, Arnold decided that he was the answer to all of their problems. Considering he always wanted to combine his love for sports with his love for people, he knew that the life of a sports agent would do just that.
“I felt like if I was going to be about it, I better shut up and put up,” Arnold said.
In 2017, Arnold resigned from his life as a sales representative and opened Pyramid Sports & Entertainment Group with friend and classmate, Ernest Purnell III.
Arnold serves as the president of one of the most notable minority-owned sports agencies of the southeast. Through its five years in operation, Pyramid offers the services of amateur advertisement, pre-draft training, marketing and endorsements, contract negotiations, off the field support, offseason training, media training, and financial management. Considering it is certified by both the MLB and NFL, Pyramid serves several professional athletes, many from the Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs.
As a professional sports agent, Arnold spends his time working tirelessly to build relationships and create opportunities for his clients. Constantly taking phone calls, managing emails, overlooking documentation, and so much more, he devotes his days to his clients’ dreams.
“From December to July is wide-open,” he exclaims. “You got the college baseball season, professional baseball season, the end of the NFL season, both professional drafts coming up in the spring … During that time I am on fire!”
While it is a lot of work, Arnold does not mind it at all as he appreciates the relationships he creates with the players. He even goes the extra mile to participate in workouts with the clients and drive for hours to watch them play.
In his business, Arnold sees every challenge as an opportunity to grow.
“The biggest opportunity is to make sure to get continuous exposure so that people know what we are doing,” he shares.
While many of his colleagues might see him solely as a retired baseball player, or even a sales representative, Arnold works hard to be reintroduced to his community as a promising businessman.
“I can present myself in a wonderful light and make sure that what we stand for: honesty, integrity and the level of care that we give to all of our clients; but that does not detach from our ability to stand firm in the corporate setting of the sports agent world,” Arnold said.

Most sports agents do not work out with their clients, however, sports agent Orlando Arnold assists his client Rusber Estrada, an Atlanta Brave during workouts.

While close relationships between agents and athletes might seem improper to some agencies, Arnold believes that the bond created with his group is what sets Pyramid Sports & Entertainment Group apart from all others.
The most rewarding aspect of Arnold’s work is simply working in the industry that he loves, athletics.
“It is just something that God has put on my heart, being in sports and talking sports,” Arnold said. “The saying is so true, ‘If you love what you do, then you will never work a day in your life.’ And that is exactly how I feel. I enjoy it. It is so rewarding that I can do this, and do it on my own terms.”
Considering he is the president of one of the few minority-owned sports agencies that is certified in both the NFL and MLB management, Arnold is making great strides for the Black community.
While he is proud of his accomplishments so far, he is eager to see what the future holds.
“I look back on my time at Alabama State and where I was then, and how I felt on top of the world for those five years. Then I look at where I am at now, and there is still more that can be done with this platform,” he expresses. “If I have come this far in this amount of time, there is no telling what God is going to allow me to do next. So watch out!”
As he works diligently every day, one of his main missions is to be a role model for the young Black men and women of today. While he may not be able to service them all, he at least wants to show all of the behind-the-scenes, professional opportunities in athletics.
“I want to show them that they can be successful in the sports agent world,” he says. “I want to continue to showcase that from an ownership standpoint.”

He also holds the more specific goal of bringing more light, opportunities, and resources to HBCU athletics.
“I think there is a gap that could be closed if the right resources and the right energy was placed behind it,” Arnold notes.
Knowing the wealth of knowledge and opportunity that his time at ASU provided, he believes many more young athletes could benefit from the HBCU environment.
Arnold credits much of his success to his upbringing.
“I am from Detroit and we know how to go get it,” Arnold says enthusiastically.
By possessing the characteristics of being creative, a hard worker, and full of integrity, he firmly believes his nature as a “people person” allows him to build relationships with clients and partners, which ultimately leads to the growth of Pyramid.
To ready him for his career, Arnold claims that ASU prepared him for the trials and tribulations of the real world.
“Everything is not always going to be perfect but if you find a way and make a plan, which ASU always did, you will come out on top,” Arnold said.
Acknowledging the day-to-day challenges that come with being a college student, and the way that ASU guides its students through them all, he affirms that he was more than ready for the world after graduating.
“You almost feel over-prepared, but in a good way,” Arnold said.
Currently, Arnold resides in Miami, Florida with his wife of three years, Cassandra Arnold, Ed.D. Outside of his work, he serves as the president of the South Florida Chapter of the National ASU Alumni Association. He is a member of the National Sales Network, the National Black MBA Association, Black Professionals Network, and is part of the Zeta Alpha Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., though he still represents and holds much love for his brothers of the Beta Upsilon Chapter. He has been honored in the 2020 issue of Legacy Miami’s 40 under 40, in The HBCU Post, in The Quintessential Gentleman, and Voyage Miami.
In his free time, he enjoys watching criminal investigative shows, eating new foods, and exercising.

Alumnus and sports agent Orlando Arnold assists Arizona Cardinal running back Jonathan Ward, arrange memorabilia for an autograph signing for the American Cancer Society.

As he hopes to close the gap between HBCUs and the professional world, Arnold passes on words of advice to today’s Hornets. To students hoping to go into sports management, he emphasizes the importance of research and finding a mentor in the field.
“The first thing to do is find a mentor because that mentor can help you avoid pitfalls that they made,” Arnold said. From researching and collaborating with a mentor, one cannot only get a peek into the lifestyle of a sports agent but also begin rallying the resources necessary to be successful.
Arnold wishes for all students of the Hornet’s Nest to appreciate all the knowledge, gifts, and memories that ASU has to offer. He emphasizes the importance of living in the moment, because as time progresses, one’s Hornet years will just be a memory.
“Understand the past and that will help you embrace the present and the future,” he states.
Speaking from his own experience, it is the moments during these years that will set the path for the future.
He says, “Cherish it, embrace it, and relish in it.”