Currently, if you Google Adele’s new boyfriend, you will find out that she is dating Klutch Sports Management Group founder. His name is Richard Paul, professionally known as Rich Paul. He does not speak much but orchestrates lots of moves in the NBA. Sportscasting even said he is the most powerful man in the NBA and is someone you should not cross because he has a way of getting what he wants. Still, none of what he has achieved today would be possible without LeBron James. Here is the story of how Paul went from selling jerseys to owning a sports agency.
All It Took was Crossing Paths with James
Paul grew up in a one-bedroom apartment above R & J Confectionery. He was raised by a single father whom he regarded as the neighborhood father and everyone’s voice of reason. Paul Sr. and his son woke up early to sell milk and punch in lottery tickets, working two jobs being the norm in an environment plagued with crime. Still, Paul’s father never turned anyone who needed his help away, no matter the time of night or day. The generous man even went as far as giving away his store’s supplies to the needy. Despite the hardships, Paul Sr. prioritized his son’s education. Therefore, he sent young Paul to a Roman Catholic private high school. Unfortunately, Paul Sr., died while Paul was still in high school, but that did not stop the ambitious young man from continuing his education. Besides instilling values that would come in handy, Paul Sr. helped Paul to be stylish. The older Paul would watch Bill Cosby and borrowed the celebrity’s fashion sense that comprised sweaters and business suits. Therefore, young Paul’s expensive taste resulted in him buying Air Jordan sneakers and Ralph Lauren clothes. By the time he was in eighth grade, he was already perusing DuPont Registry and the Robb Report, admiring the luxurious watches and cars he wanted to own someday. Consequently, he worked hard to make his dreams come true. According to Business Insider, when Paul was 21, he met Lebron James at an airport in Akron. The basketball player was still in high school then, and Paul was selling throwback jerseys. Since Paul wore a Warren Moon jersey, James was interested in knowing where the 21-year-old got it. The two were about to board a flight to Atlanta and Paul told James he was heading there to buy more jerseys for his business that was yet to take off. Paul was even kind enough to give James his business contact in Atlanta, advising him to mention Paul’s name so that he could get a discount.
The Birth of Four Horsemen
Looking back, Paul feels it was fate since he could have missed the flight, taken an earlier one, or worn something other than the jersey. He added that he could have been having a bad day and not responded to James, but all that happened took him an inch closer to what would one day become Klutch Sports Management. James appreciated Paul’s help and thanked him after his Atlanta trip. The two kept in touch, striking a friendship that would last for years. Whenever James wanted Paul by his side, the entrepreneur always showed up. According to The New York Times, besides talking about girls and their backgrounds, they also helped each other. James learned a lot about the life skills that Paul had gotten from his father while James introduced Paul to his inner circle. Paul worked hard in making his jersey business successful. He learned all about the great athletes to ensure he got his product right. His friends advertised his business by wearing his jerseys wherever they went. James too assisted Paul in getting the word out about his jerseys. The jersey seller began earning $15,000 weekly, which convinced Andy Hyman, Paul’s Atlanta jersey supplier, to partner up with him. When the Cavaliers drafted James after he graduated from high school, the basketball player wanted Paul with him. Thus the athlete gave Paul $50,000, saying it was his annual salary, although the job description was still blurry. According to SB Nation, James also had two of his childhood friends on the payroll. Maverick Carter was the business manager tasked with shaping James’ brand, while Randy Mims was the communications liaison between James and the Cavaliers. Paul was assigned to Leon Rose’s Creative Artists Agency (CAA) to help him understand how sports agencies work. The friends became the four horsemen, founding LRMR Marketing and promising they would be more than an entourage.
Founding Klutch Sports Management
Paul aspired to be a sports agent, and the chance presented itself when James announced he was leaving the Cavaliers. No one in James’ camp bothered telling Cavaliers about the player’s decision to move to Miami. Therefore before the “Decision” show began, Paul called the Cavaliers' general manager Chris Grant to inform him. Consequently, in 2014, James left Creative Artists Agency to be represented by Paul. By this time, the young man had gained enough experience after being present as Rose negotiated James’ contract extension with the Cavaliers in 2006 and his six-year deal with the Miami Heat in 2010. Since the contract had an opt-out clause deal in 2014, the player decided to be with his friend. As Wosu Public Media published, James, Paul, and Carter founded Klutch Sports and hired Mark Termini to head negotiations. Since Termini was older, it helped the enterprising young men acquire clients faster. By 2019, Klutch Sports was negotiating contracts worth over $1 billion. Some sources flaunt Paul as the founder of Klutch Sports Group, and his client list has grown to represent Tristan Thompson, Ben Simmons, and Anthony Davis, among others. Despite being regarded as one of the most powerful agents in the NBA, Paul still feels that he will never get as many White clients as he would want because they do not want a black agent.
Written by Dana Hanson
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