Struggling From a Dark Past, 1 Flight With LeBron James Helped Rich Paul Turn the Tables on His Luck

Published 10/09/2023, 2:26 PM EDT

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While the athletes are the best at their sport, they require assistance in maximizing the value of their abilities. This is where the agents step in to guide them through the maze of hefty contracts and land them the best deal for their skills. And who is better in the business than LeBron’s agent and long-time friend, Rich Paul?

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However, just like most people, he too rose from humble beginnings to establish his name in the competitive and fast-paced sports industry. His ascent to fame was preordained when, on a providential day, he encountered young LeBron James at the airport.

The chance encounter that changed Rich Paul’s life

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Rich Paul struck gold when he started working under James’s then-agent Leon Rose at the Creative Artists Agency. That was until he started Klutch Sports Group with the King himself in 2012. Now, Paul has negotiated a total of $4 billion in contracts and is one of the most esteemed agents. His clientele includes the likes of Anthony Edwards, De’Aaron Fox, Zach LaVine, Draymond Green, and Darius Garland. However, the story took shape much before, so let’s rewind.

During a recent appearance on 60 Minutes, Paul divulged his chance encounter with teenage LeBron James that changed everything for him. The duo met at the Akron-Canton Airport in 2001 and the acquaintance soon blossomed into a 21-year-long friendship. At first glance, Paul’s jersey was what caught James’s eye. He was wearing a throwback Warren Moon Houston Oilers jersey. However, they soon discovered that they had more in common.

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LeBron James said, “It began with him wearing a throwback jersey that I loved. But as started talking about sports, we started evolving, talking more and more about life, and our upbringing and our moms and our communities and stuff of that nature. It just kinda struck. It struck a chord”. This random run into rising star James paved the way for his success. He seized the chance and built himself an empire. But his path to success was not without obstacles.

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Rich Paul’s dark past

Rich’s father succumbed to cancer when Rich was only 19 years old. After his father’s premature death, he had to resort to selling drugs on the streets to survive. His mother Minerva was addicted to the same drugs that he had to sell. Before he struck it rich, he used to make $1000-$5000 at a casino with his friend. However, soon after, he started a new business selling throwback jerseys, one of which caught James’ eye at the airport.

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From struggling to survive to earn millions of dollars, Rich Paul has weathered several storms to get here. However, he is not embarrassed or ashamed that he had to do those things to get here. He knows it’s all part of the grand scheme of things and embraces his struggles.

Watch this Story:  Not Michael Jordan but Kobe Bryant Lit a Fire Inside Dwyane Wade to Redefine LeBron James and Own Legacy

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Written by:

Darshita Daga

411Articles

One take at a time

Darshita Daga is an NBA Writer at EssentiallySports. Currently pursuing Bachelor’s in English, she’s a fervent sports enthusiast with a keen interest in sports journalism, specifically covering the NBA. She feels that words have the potential to capture the spirit of a game, evaluate moves, and portray the emotions that occur both on and off the court.
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Edited by:

Saumya Khanduja

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