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Virgen's View: Leigh Steinberg inducted into California Sports Hall of Fame

Virgen's View: Leigh Steinberg inducted into California Sports Hall of Fame
Leigh Steinberg, right, celebrates as Patrick Mahomes finds out he is drafted No. 10 by the Kansas City Chiefs during the NFL Draft in April. (Chelsea Purgahn / AP)

This was a moment to be remembered, an honor to be cherished. So Leigh Steinberg had his two sons, John and Matt, and daughter, Katie, along with 30 friends witness his induction into the California Sports Hall of Fame.

It was a special time for Steinberg, who continues to work in his office in Newport Beach, representing athletes. Much has been made of his comeback story, his battle with alcoholism and him now reaching seven years of sobriety.

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He's starting to rebuild his lineup of NFL athletes. It's not what it once was, but it's noteworthy that he has quarterbacks Paxton Lynch (Denver Broncos) and Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs).

Steinberg, 68, has never hesitated to talk about his bout with alcoholism and how vodka controlled his life. Eventually he went into a 12-step sober living program to start his comeback.

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In 2007, Steinberg's world fell apart, including a failed marriage, illnesses to his children and the death of his father.

"I felt powerless," he said at the induction dinner at Morongo Casino Resort.

He had been known as the super agent, the premiere sports agent who had inspired Tom Cruise's character in the movie, "Jerry Maguire." Steinberg represented eight No. 1 NFL Draft picks, 60 first-round players and negotiated over $2 billion in contracts. At one point, he represented half of the NFL starting quarterbacks in the NFL.

"I gave my practice to other agents and moved into sober living and decided if nothing else, I would be sober and be a good father and work the 12-step program," Steinberg said.

The California Sports Hall of Fame, founded by former Chiefs running back Christian Okoye, is in its 11th year. Safe to say, there are no sports agents in there, except for Steinberg.

Throughout his career Steinberg has connected himself to hundreds of athletes and celebrities. He was once the agent for former Laker Byron Scott, who was also an honoree Sunday night, along with figure skater Michelle Kwan, NFL Hall of Famer James Lofton and funny car driver John Force.

Steinberg has also represented eight Pro Football Hall of Famers, including Warren Moon, who was in in attendance to see his friend Steinberg being honored.

After all, Steinberg was there for Moon to deliver a speech when Moon was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Steinberg is a rare sports agent. His induction was well-deserved and you could tell it meant a lot to him.

"My father had two core values," Steinberg said. "One is to treasure relationships, especially family. The second is try to make a real difference in the world in a positive way and help people who can't help themselves. All I've been doing during these years is trying to achieve that result."

Twitter: @SteveVirgen

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