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CNBC EXCLUSIVE: CNBC’S SPORTS BUSINESS REPORTER DARREN ROVELL SPEAKS WITH LEIGH STEINBERG, CEO OF STEINBERG SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT, TODAY

WHEN: TODAY, JANUARY 18TH

WHERE: CNBC’S “STREET SIGNS

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC EXCLUSIVE interview with Leigh Steinberg, CEO of Steinberg Sports & Entertainment. This is his first live television interview since filing for bankruptcy. All references must be sourced to CNBC.

ROVELL: A WEEK AGO TODAY LEIGH STEINBERG FILED FOR BANKRUPTCY LISTING LESS THAN $500,000 IN ASSETS AND MORE THAN $3 MILLION IN DEBTS. SHOCKING NEWS TO PEOPLE WHO COME TO KNOW STEINBERG'S NAME. RECORD EIGHT FIRST OVERALL DRAFT PICKS AND HIS MUST-ATTEND SUPER BOWL PARTIES. JOINING US LIVE FROM IRVINE, CALIFORNIA, IN HIS FIRST LIVE TELEVISION INTERVIEW SINCE THE FILING IS LEIGH STEINBERG. THANKS SO MUCH FOR JOINING. WHAT PEOPLE ARE HAVING A HARD TIME DEALING WITH ASSUMING YOU DID MORE THAN $2 BILLION IN DEALS, WE'RE TALKING $60 MILLION PLUS IN COMMISSIONS OVER THE COURSE OF YOUR CAREER, HOW COULD THIS POSSIBLY HAPPEN?

STEINBERG: WELL, FIRST OF ALL, DARREN,GOOD AFTERNOON. I TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR ALL OF THE DEBT. AND I TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR MY ALCOHOLISM, WHICH EXACERBATED THE SITUATION. NO ONE FORCED ME TO DRINK. NO ONE FORCED ME TO MAKE BAD INVESTMENTS. I'M RESPONSIBLE. WE LOST MONEY IN THE INTERNET CRASH OF 2000, LOST A HOME TO MOLD. THEN I GOT DIVORCED, WHICH WAS THE BEGINNING OF A SLIPPERY SLOPE FOR ME WHICH FURTHER DILUTED THE ASSETS. AND THEN CAME A BAD CASE IN 2003 THAT EXTENDED WHICH WAS A LOAN MADE TO A MEMBER OF OUR GROUP THAT WAS IN MARKETING AND WORKING ON A CHINA PROJECT WHICH WAS AN NFL P.A. VIOLATION.

ROVELL: I SAW YOU FOCUS ON THAT LOAN TO CHAD MORTON. YOU WERE ALSO PART OF WINNING A $44 MILLION JUDGMENT AGAINST YOUR FORMER PARTNER DAVID DUNN. I'M JUST TRYING TO FIGURE OUT, AND YOU'VE HAD SOME TOUGH TIMES, HOW A RATIONAL AND SMART PERSON LIKE YOURSELF -- I KNOW YOUR NUMBER ONE FOCUS WAS ON YOUR ALCOHOLISM, BUT HOW THE DEBT ACTUALLY GOT TO THE POINT THAT IT DID.

STEINBERG: IT GOT TO THE POINT BECAUSE WHEN I WAS NO LONGER CERTIFIED WITH THE NFL P.A., WHICH HAPPENED WHEN I DID NOT REAPPLY IN 2007, I LOST MY CHIEF ABILITY TO MAKE MONEY. AND I STILL HAD A LARGE OFFICE, A LARGE STAFF. AND WE WERE RUNNING, YOU KNOW, $700,000 FOR RENT A YEAR. A SERIES OF OTHER DEALS. I WAS NOT A GOOD STEWARD. AND THEN WHEN I STARTED TO DESCEND INTO ALCOHOLISM, WHAT HAPPENED WAS THAT I CHECKED OUT EPISODICALLY FOR A DAY OR TWO. WAS NOT RELIABLE. THE DEBTS KEPT PILING UP. AND WE DIDN'T HAVE REVENUE TO DEAL WITH THEM. AND THEN FINALLY IN MARCH OF 2010 I CRASHED. AND THERE WERE A SERIES OF NEGOTIATIONS WITH SOME OF THESE CREDITORS. AND THEY JUST NEVER GOT TAKEN CARE OF. I WAS FOCUSING ON ALCOHOL. SO THAT'S WHERE A LOT OF THE DEBT COMES FROM.

ROVELL: LEIGH, YOU'RE 62 YEARS OLD NOW. YOU SAY YOU'RE NOT GIVING UP. YOU SAID YOU WILL CONTINUE TO REPRESENT CLIENTS. HOW MUCH OF YOUR LEGACY AND FUTURE DO YOU BELIEVE HAS BEEN TARNISHED FROM THIS?

STEINBERG: I CAN'T JUDGE THAT, DARREN. YOU KNOW, THERE WERE 40 YEARS BEFORE THAT -- 38 YEARS WITH CHARITY, COMMUNITY, TRYING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD. AND THAT'S ALWAYS BEEN THE CHARGE OF OUR PRACTICE, TO TRY TO HELP STIMULATE THE BEST IN ATHLETES, PREPARE THEM FOR A SECOND CAREER AND GO OUT AND SET UP HIGH SCHOOL, COLLEGIATE SCHOLARSHIP FUNDS, COMMUNITY PROGRAMS THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD. AND I STILL THINK THAT THOSE ARE RELEVANT. I'VE BEEN AS OPEN AND HONEST ABOUT EVERYTHING THAT'S HAPPENED. FORGET THE EMBARRASSMENT AND UP FRONT. ALL I CAN DO IS CONTINUE THIS SOBRIETY. IT'S 669 DAYS TODAY. THIS NEWS SHOULD HAVE HIT TWO YEARS AGO BECAUSE WE'RE REALLY BEEN ON THE COMEBACK TRAIL. I STILL BELIEVE I CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN PEOPLE'S LIVES. AND LOOK, I'M NOT A STARVING PEASANT IN DARFUR. I DON’T HAVE A FATAL DISEASE. SO MANY PEOPLE HAVE IT SO MUCH WORSE THAN I DO. ALL I CAN DO IS TRY MY BEST AND TRY TO MAKE A PRODUCTIVE YEARS FROM RIGHT NOW.

ROVELL: LEIGH STEINBERG, THANKS SO MUCH FOR JOINING US ON CNBC AND TELLING YOUR SIDE OF THE STORY.

STEINBERG: THANK YOU, DARREN.

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