Who is Rich Paul? A closer look into the life of the man behind Klutch Sports Group

Rich Paul, front center, with some of his Klutch Sports Group clients. Photo credits: NYDailynews.com
Rich Paul, front center, with some of his Klutch Sports Group clients. Photo credits: NYDailynews.com

Although he is not a famous NBA star, fans of basketball will certainly know who Rich Paul is and his company Klutch Sports Group.

From meeting LeBron James back in 2002 to penning deals with some of the biggest sports stars in the U.S., Rich Paul is one of the most influential agents around and certainly has an underdog story similar to that of some of the players he represents.

The life of Klutch Sports Group founder Rich Paul

LA Lakers stars LeBron James and <a href='https://www.sportskeeda.com/basketball/anthony-davis' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer'>Anthony Davis</a> are both represented by Rich Paul
LA Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis are both represented by Rich Paul

Paul, who is 40-years-old and hails from Ohio, first began his journey to becoming the most famous sports agent in the league when he met LeBron James in 2002. He was selling retro sports jerseys at the time and James was reportedly impressed by a Warren Moon shirt that Paul was wearing.

Their relationship grew from this moment, with LeBron later welcoming Rich Paul into his inner circle of close friends and paying him a salary of $48,000 when he first joined the Cleveland Cavaliers as an investment of what the two could do together in the future. The two have a lot in common not only because of their love for the NBA and NFL, but because they both grew up in the inner city of Cleveland.

After spending a few years working for LeBron's agent at the time, Leon Rose, at Creative Artists Agency, Paul struck off taking James with him to form his own sports agency called Klutch Sports Group. It's fair to say he has never looked back.

Building Klutch Sports Group with LeBron James as his primary client, Rich Paul has developed immense influence in the NBA, helping to create 'player empowerment' as stars more frequently change teams.

He was the driving force behind Anthony Davis' trade to the LA Lakers, announcing that Davis was demanding a trade - a violation of NBA rules - and that the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics were not viable destinations. This all but paved the way for the Lakers to sign Davis and create the perfect partnership with James, who, in their first year together, won a championship.

Aside from the two Lakers superstars, Rich Paul and Klutch Sports Group also represent some of the league's other biggest names. These include the likes of John Wall, Ben Simmons, Draymond Green, Lonzo Ball and Eric Bledsoe. He has brokered over $1bn worth of contract deals and is worth more than $100m.

Rich Paul's name began to circulate recently not only because of his relationship with singer Adele when the two could be seen seated together at the NBA Finals but because of Knicks center Nerlens Noel suing Klutch Sports Group. The lawsuit is ongoing, but the outcome will not affect Paul's rise to the top of the agency world, having recently signed All-Star Zach LaVine to his roster of clients.

His rise has complemented the league's explosion in worth with mega-money TV and sponsorship deals flying in. Given how much money he has been able to earn for his clients and how Klutch Sports Group has overtaken traditional sporting agencies, it is only a matter of time before his company is the dominant force in the NBA.

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Edited by Arnav Kholkar