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How Rich Paul Became One of the Most Powerful Sports Agents in the World

Rich Paul is the founder and CEO of Klutch Sports Group, an influential agency that represents some of the biggest names in basketball, such as LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Draymond Green. Paul has negotiated more than $4 billion in contracts for his clients, making him one of the most successful sports agents in the world. But his journey to the top was not easy. He had to overcome many challenges and obstacles, from growing up in a poor neighborhood in Cleveland to breaking into the competitive sports industry.

From Dice Roller to Drug Dealer

Paul was born and raised on the east side of Cleveland, where he witnessed the devastating effects of crack cocaine on his community. His mother, Minerva, was addicted to crack, and his father, “Big Rich”, died from cancer when Paul was 19. Paul learned to survive on the streets, where he became a hustler and a gambler. He would play dice games in the park and make up to $5,000 a day. He also sold marijuana and crack cocaine, risking his life and freedom.

Paul said he did not glorify his past, but he learned valuable lessons from it. He said he developed a resilience and a sense of character that helped him later in his career. He also said he had no other choice, as he had no access to education or opportunities that could help him achieve his dreams.

How Rich Paul Became One of the Most Powerful Sports Agents in the World

Meeting LeBron James

Paul’s life changed when he met LeBron James at the Akron-Canton Airport in 2001. Paul was wearing a Warren Moon throwback jersey, which caught James’ eye. The two started talking and discovered they had a lot in common. They both grew up in Ohio, had single mothers who struggled with addiction, and loved basketball. They became friends and kept in touch.

James invited Paul to join his inner circle, which included his childhood friends Maverick Carter, Randy Mims and Eric “E.J.” Johnson. They called themselves the “Four Horsemen”. James trusted Paul with his personal and professional matters, and eventually asked him to be his agent. Paul had no formal training or experience in sports management, but he had a passion and a vision for James’ career.

Starting Klutch Sports Group

Paul started working as an agent for Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of the largest and most powerful agencies in Hollywood. He learned the ropes from veteran agents like Leon Rose and Henry Thomas, who represented stars like Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade. Paul also built relationships with other players, coaches, executives and media personalities in the NBA.

In 2012, Paul decided to leave CAA and start his own agency, Klutch Sports Group. He took James with him, as well as other clients like Tristan Thompson and Eric Bledsoe. He also hired Mark Termini, a respected agent and attorney who specialized in contract negotiations. Together, they formed a formidable team that challenged the status quo of the sports industry.

Taking Big Swings for His Clients

Paul is known for taking big swings for his clients, whether it is securing lucrative deals or orchestrating blockbuster trades. He is not afraid to go against the grain or challenge the norms of the NBA. He has helped James win four championships with three different teams, while also maximizing his earnings and influence off the court. He has also helped Davis join forces with James in Los Angeles, where they won the title in 2020. He has also helped Green become one of the key pieces of the Golden State Warriors dynasty.

Paul’s approach has earned him praise and criticism from fans, media and executives alike. Some admire his boldness and loyalty to his clients, while others accuse him of being greedy and disruptive. Paul said he does not care about what others think of him, as long as he is doing what is best for his clients.

Expanding His Empire

Paul’s success has not only made him one of the most powerful sports agents in the world, but also one of the most influential figures in sports and culture. He has expanded his empire beyond basketball, signing clients from other sports like football, baseball and soccer. He has also partnered with United Talent Agency (UTA), one of the leading agencies in entertainment, to create UTA Sports. He has also launched Klutch Conversations, a series of events that feature prominent speakers from various fields.

Paul has also written a memoir titled “Lucky Me: How a Kid from Cleveland Became One of Sports’ Biggest Agents”, which will be released on Tuesday. The book chronicles his remarkable journey from the streets to the boardroom, and shares his insights and advice on how to succeed in life and business.

Paul said he hopes his story will inspire others who face similar challenges and obstacles as he did. He said he wants to show them that anything is possible with hard work, determination and luck.

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