They began as childhood friends, became business partners and achieved unparalleled success on and off the tennis court.
On Wednesday, it was announced that Andre Agassi and Perry Rogers have gone their separate ways — at least when it comes to deal-making.
Rogers has resigned as president of Agassi Enterprises, where he oversaw all the business and marketing operations.
“We’ve been talking about it for a long time,” Rogers said Wednesday. “We made the decision in August, but we didn’t want to announce it until after the fundraiser because we didn’t want to cause any distractions.”
Agassi had his “Grand Slam for Children” benefit Saturday at Wynn Las Vegas. The event helped raise money for his foundation.
Rogers said their business relationship was consuming him and Agassi to the point that there was danger of it impacting their friendship.
“It was getting to where every call I was getting was about business, and Andre and I agreed that it has to be more than this,” Rogers said. “Andre and I both feel the same that at the end of the day it’s about our friendship first. It’s not about the number of zeroes in the bank account but the quality of the friendship.”
Agassi released a statement on the split, saying: “It’s rare to find someone who shares your hopes and dreams. Working together, Perry and I made our dreams reality. There are few people who can say that, and we both feel incredibly fortunate.
“Our 27-year-long friendship has endured the stresses and strains of intense business.”
Steve Miller, the chief executive officer of the Agassi Foundation, will oversee the business side of Agassi Enterprises during the transitional period until Rogers is replaced. Miller said it will be business as usual.
“I don’t think it’ll change at all,” Miller said. “The issue is you have two people who worked together over a long period of time. Perry was Andre’s agent while he was playing, and now that Andre is retired, Perry is moving on. I think it was part of a natural transition as time goes on.”
Rogers, who also was active in tennis as a member of the ATP Tour’s player advisory board, resigned from that spot in May. He will remain the president of Premier Integrated Sports Management (PRISM), a company Rogers began in 2000. Among his clients are veteran Phoenix Suns center Shaquille O’Neal and the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Miller said Agassi probably will take a more active role on the business side. Miller also said Rogers’ decision to part ways will not impact the foundation’s work.
“This has no effect on the foundation whatsoever,” Miller said. “It’s business as usual.”
Miller said he thinks Agassi’s and Rogers’ friendship has remained intact despite the split as business partners.
“I don’t think you throw a lifetime’s worth of friendship away just like that,” he said.
Rogers insisted his friendship with Agassi is on solid footing. “We’re still good friends,” he said. “That’s not going to change.”
Rogers has been overseeing Agassi’s business affairs since 1994, shortly after he graduated from law school at the University of Arizona. Together, they formed a charitable foundation and in 1994 began work on a celebrity fundraiser to help launch a charter school in West Las Vegas.
In its 13-year existence, the “Grand Slam for Children” has raised more than $70 million to help build and fund the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy. The K-12 school on Lake Mead Boulevard, which opened in 2001, will have its first high school graduating class next spring.
Rogers and Agassi also teamed to build a Boys and Girls Club on Martin L. King Jr. Boulevard. Local tennis star Asia Muhammad first learned to play on the courts at the Boys and Girls Club.
Agassi retired from tennis in 2006 after losing in the second round of the U.S. Open. But he has maintained a busy business dossier, including sportswear deals with adidas and a racquet deal with Head, as well as some diverse investments, including real estate at Tamarack Resort in Idaho, Kreiss Furniture, several restaurants and night clubs in Las Vegas and part ownership in a National Basketball Developmental League team.
“Looking back, we were able to do some great things together in business and in the community,” Rogers said. “But by far, the school is the biggest accomplishment and what I’m proudest of.”
Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@ reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913.