Rich Paul, LeBron James’s Agent, Is Setting New Standards In The Basketball Industry
Rich Paul, trusted agent of famous basketball player, LeBron James, and close contact of other NBA all-stars, has been spending a huge chunk of his time since the pandemic working from his property in Beverly hills. He prefers taking calls in a small arrangement situated in his backyard, which kind of gives it a quirky feel as it’s decorated like an old-school cigar lounge, with dark furniture, vintage photographs, and dim lighting.
Paul likes to dress up in an easy-breezy way. He’s the kind of guy who’ll go for Nike t-shirts, basketball shorts, and sandals for a regular WFH day. It won’t be wrong to say that our man has a total vibe!
What’s it like to be around Paul?
A middle-aged man, Paul is 40, and in pretty good shape. About five feet nine inches tall, he stands pretty much eye-to-shoulder while dealing with his clients. He’s an absolutely cool guy with impeccable conversational skills that help him crack deals easily with team owners. But, don’t misjudge him; he’s not the kind of guy who’ll laugh at your corny jokes just to make you feel better. He’s kind of serious and composed that way.
Paul founded his agency, Klutch Sports Group, back in 2012, which makes it nine years old. Since then he has successfully been able to negotiate nearly two billion dollars (and counting) in deals for clients. His list includes some of the most famous NBA athletes, including Anthony Davis, the Los Angeles Leakers, Trae Young, and Atlanta Hawks.
Relationship with James
Paul came in contact with James back in 2002 at Akron-Canton Airport, where both were waiting for a flight to Atlanta. At that time James was only seventeen, and was expected to be NBA’s No.1 draft pick the following year.
Paul, on the other hand, was twenty-one and was struggling to find a career for himself. But time is a superior entity and it changed for good. It changed Paul’s life! With James as his star client, Paul gained enough name in the business, and today, he has a tremendous influence on the NBA. The two men are famously associated with the term “player empowerment”.
So then, what is player empowerment?
The argument associated with this term states that basketball teams have had enough or too much control over the careers of athletes. Almost all players are traded on a whim and aren’t allowed to share their opinions about where they want to live and work!
Paul remembers, David Falk, an agent who represented Michael Jordan, once told him that athletes are the reason fans get attracted towards the game. Athletes are the reason why jersey sales rise, and athletes bring in the most revenue. Then why aren’t they allowed to stand for themselves?
Is there a Link between player empowerment and race?
For sure player empowerment is directly linked with race. Professional basketball has always been a black-dominated sport, but it’s almost always commissioned by a white official and it uniformly takes place under white owners. But over the past few years, fortunately, players have gained a lot of popularity. Consequently, their opinions are now valued, which is why they feel comfortable talking about politics and important agendas like the “black lives matter” movement. Now that’s a great upgrade, don’t you think?
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