LeBron James’ agent Rich Paul is becoming a superpower in the NBA, and his Klutch Sports agency is booking some of the league’s top talent. Many fans believe that’s why jealousy prompted an anonymous agent to come for the duo in an article published in The Athletic.
An unidentified sports agent accused James and Paul of “illegal” representation of players in a Thursday, Oct. 22, article.
“The worst thing that LeBron is doing is forcing this power with Rich Paul and what that is, in terms of, he’s a player, but he has prowess in the media space. His company SpringHill, that’s awesome. Doing the movies and all of the projects. That’s so commendable. I love that. But now that they’ve jumped into the agent game, which the reality is, it’s illegal for a player, particularly if you’re in the state of California, to be licensed to represent talent,” the agent wrote.
He said the two are using James’ iconic status to lure clients, but make it seem like Paul is the one securing the contracts.
“Now I know it’s this façade that it’s Rich Paul, but it’s really LeBron who recruits for Rich Paul. So it’s almost like they’re trying to control AAU at the NBA level,” the unidentified agent continued. “And because of his power and his prowess, people, the young players are seduced by LeBron James in the same way people were seduced by Michael Jordan with David Falk.”
The agent added there were “massive casualties” and players lost millions due to mismanagement by Paul’s agency. He said with so many players on the roster, Paul’s clients couldn’t possibly get the representation they needed.
“If someone does their research, a lot of these guys have really gotten screwed,” the agent wrote. “I know this as an agent, you can’t service them all at this level,” the agent said. “You can seduce them, but you can’t service them all, at that level with what they say they’re doing. Nerlens Noel. Norris Cole. Shabazz Muhammed. They lost $80 million in Detroit. This is real talk.”
There was a mixed reaction among fans, but many didn’t hesitate to shut down the comments.
“What you don’t get is nobody controls these players as they are employees and have the right to go wherever they want. Whether lebron was in the league or not people would start to realize the leverage they can have over their employers for good reason,” one user @Master_Fineser responded.
“Can I ask what the solution is? Should players be forced to spread talent around, forced to stay with whoever drafts them their entire career? As a fan in a small market, I get that it sucks trying to attract free agents, but it’s just what it is in sports,” tweeted another.
Others pointed out that the player examples the agent used to make his case — like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Nerlens Noel — weren’t good ones.
“KCP screwed himself. How is that Klutch Sports lol He bet on himself and lost,” user @Benjamin_Ehud responded.
“He’s made 37M in his 3 years with the Lakers. He has sacrificed $8M for a ring, basically. If Jordan did that, you’d jizz yourself saying how great of a winner he was. Instead, KCP is a sheep following Lebron for no reason. Man gtfoh, be jealous all ya want,” wrote user @gregpool66.
“This guy is acting like KCP and Nerlens Noel should get a huge bag they’re roleplayers,” added user @Sixer_Matt.
Klutch has been growing rapidly and represents over 30 NBA players. In addition to Caldwell-Pope, its clients include superstars like Anthony Davis, Trae Young, Draymond Green, Ben Simmons, Tristan Thompson, Lonzo Ball, and others.
One fan theorized the reason for the agent’s comments was a Black man’s potential longevity as an NBA agent. “I know it makes them more upset knowing Rich Paul is gonna be a factor in the agent game for the next 2-3 decades even once Lebron & AD retire lmao … They’re big pressed,” wrote user @ufeeeelme.
Another summed up a way to measure Paul’s success in one simple sentence: “6 Klutch clients won a championship this year,” wrote @ChokingClippers.