December 16, 1981
CEO of Klutch Sports Group
Rich Paul (born December 16, 1981) is an American sports agent based in Cleveland, Ohio. He founded Klutch Sports Group which represents a number of prominent NBA players, such as LeBron James, in addition to NFL players in more recent years.
Early and personal life
Paul grew up in a one-bedroom apartment above his father's store, R & J Confectionery, on East 125th and Arlington in Glenville, a neighborhood on the east side of Cleveland. His father felt he needed more structure than public school could provide and enrolled him in Benedictine, a Roman Catholic high school across the town. His father died of cancer in 1999.
After graduating from high school, Paul was mentored by Distant Replays owner Andy Hyman on selling vintage jerseys. He would buy throwback jerseys from Atlanta and sell them out of his trunk in Cleveland. In 2002, he met LeBron James at the Akron–Canton Airport, where James was impressed by Paul's authentic Warren Moon throwback jersey. The two exchanged contact information, and soon Paul had sold James a Magic Johnson Lakers jersey and a Joe Namath Rams jersey.
|Type||Sports management company|
|Founder||Rich Paul, LeBron James|
|Headquarters||Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
In 2003, after the NBA draft, Paul joined LeBron James as a part of his small inner circle, along with James' childhood friends Maverick Carter and Randy Mims. He would later start working under Leon Rose, who had negotiated James' extension with the Cavaliers in 2006, at Creative Artists Agency. In 2012, Paul, along with James, left Rose and CAA to start his own agency, Klutch Sports Group. In 2013, Paul enlisted noted long-time agent and attorney Mark Termini to run the NBA contract negotiations for Klutch. By the conclusion of their agreement in 2020, Termini negotiated $1.4 billion in NBA contracts for Klutch Sports clients from 2014 through 2019. By 2019, Klutch had a roster of 25 clients and brokered over $1 billion in contracts. Later that year, United Talent Agency (UTA) asked Paul to run its sports division through a partnership with Klutch where he expanded the division’s clients from 4 to 23. In 2020, he accepted a position on UTA's board of directors.
In August 2019, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) changed its regulations for agents, requiring them to hold a bachelors degree. Called the "Rich Paul Rule" by the media, it was widely seen as a swipe at Paul for having not graduated from college and for working with a high school prospect Darius Bazley who decided to work as an intern for New Balance rather than attend Syracuse. Paul argued in an op-ed in The Athletic that the rule would prevent people from less prestigious backgrounds, people of color, and those without the funds to attend college from working as agents in the future so NCAA executives could have more control. The NCAA later backed down from the regulation change.
In August 2021, Rich Paul was reportedly being sued by Nerlens Noel on the grounds of a breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, and negligence for his role in turning down a $70 million contract offer from the Dallas Mavericks in the offseason preceding the 2017–18 season.
- "An Agent of Change". New York Times. August 18, 2014. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
- Price, S. L. "Behind the scenes with Rich Paul: The NBA's new king maker". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
- "Meet Rich Paul, The Man Who Orchestrated LeBron's Return To Cleveland". Business Insider. July 14, 2014. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
- Broussard, Chris (December 25, 2012). "The chosen's one". ESPN.
- Nast, Condé (October 7, 2021). "Adele is Vogue's November Cover Star!". Vogue. Retrieved October 7, 2021.
- "LeBron James Leaves CAA, Childhood Friend will Represent Him". International Business Times. September 13, 2012. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
- Zillgitt, Jeff (January 15, 2013). "LeBron James rep Klutch Sports adds top agent Termini". USA Today. USA Today. Retrieved June 8, 2021.
- Price, S.L. (June 12, 2019). "The King Maker: Why Rich Paul Will Own the NBA Summer". SI.com. SI.com. Retrieved June 8, 2021.
- Stein, Marc [@TheSteinLine] (February 19, 2021). "Mark Termini, the longtime agent and attorney who led negotiations on the $1.4 billion in NBA contracts closed by Klutch Sports from 2014-2019, is no longer affiliated with the agency, league sources say" (Tweet). Archived from the original on March 4, 2021. Retrieved June 11, 2021 – via Twitter.
- Skipper, Clay (December 16, 2019). "Rich Paul Is Rewriting the Rulebook". GQ. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
- McNary, Dave (July 27, 2020). "LeBron James' Agent Rich Paul Named to UTA Board". Variety. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
- Stein, Marc (July 17, 2019). "LeBron James's Agent, Rich Paul, Starts a Sports Division at a Hollywood Firm (Published 2019)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 10, 2021.
- Paul, Rich. "Op-ed: Rich Paul on the NCAA's new restrictions for player-agents". The Athletic. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
- Young, Jabari (February 11, 2020). "Power agent Rich Paul launching Klutch Conversations during NBA All-Star weekend". CNBC. Retrieved February 10, 2021.
- #teamEBONY (February 26, 2020). "2020 EBONY POWER 100 LIST". EBONY. Retrieved November 10, 2020.
- O'Donnell, Ricky (August 25, 2021). "Nerlens Noel is suing Rich Paul for fumbling the bag". SBNation.com. Retrieved October 11, 2021.