“Turned Cleveland to Mid-West Hollywood”: Attracting Billionaires Warren Buffet and Jay Z, LeBron James’ $120 Million Rich Friend Praises Cavaliers Legend

Published 09/04/2023, 9:42 PM EDT

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NBA superstars LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and Kobe Bryant have undoubtedly etched their names into the annals of basketball history. However, it’s fascinating that these legendary players followed distinct paths to their NBA careers. In 2009, Stephen Curry emerged as the 7th overall draft pick. Meanwhile, Kobe Bryant’s journey to NBA stardom began with an unexpected twist. He was chosen not by the Los Angeles Lakers but by the Charlotte Hornets as the 13th overall pick. On the other hand, LeBron James burst onto the scene by being the undeniable top pick in the draft.

There is no doubt that these players’ extraordinary talents and achievements have set them apart from their league. Their path sheds light on the dynamicity of the initial stages, the NBA draft. One of the top NBA agents recently elucidated the world of induction to the NBA.

Rich Paul recalls the impact of LeBron James in Cleveland


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In a recent interview, NBA agent Rich Paul sat with Gil’s Arena‘s cast to discuss what he does best. He was asked how he handles a player’s drop in the NBA draft early on. Rich explained that dropping from the second pick to the sixth is okay; the team with the sixth pick is usually happy to have the player. However, falling to the 35th pick is a different story.

Rich also discussed the significance of dropping just a few picks, especially for superstar players he calls “Market Busters.” He pointed to Stephen Curry and his friend LeBron James as examples. According to Rich, LeBron turned Cleveland into a hotbed of celebrity activity during his time there, “LeBron was able to be a market buster in Cleveland. He turned Cleveland to MidWest Hollywood. Everyone from Warren Buffet to Jay Z to Lil Wayne, everybody came to games in Cleveland.”


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Having been friends for over two decades, James and Paul’s friendship began when the latter hustled throwback jerseys at an airport. Fast forward to today, Paul has become one of the most influential figures in basketball, thanks to his thriving agency, Klutch Sports.

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James’ impact on Paul’s success

17 years old LeBron James was drawn to a vintage Warren Moon Houston Oilers jersey worn by 21-year-old Rich Paul. This meeting would alter Paul’s life dramatically, especially considering his challenging upbringing and decision to drop out of college. With LeBron’s assistance, Paul secured a position at Creative Artists Agency, laying the foundation for his impressive journey.


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Paul later founded Klutch Sports Group, a agency representing top athletes in the NBA, NFL, and WNBA. His client roster boasts famous names like LeBron, Anthony Davis, Zach LaVine, Tristan Thompson, and Draymond Green.

In a 2023 offseason, Paul orchestrated deals worth over $600 million for his clients. His rise has been so rapid that he now co-heads the sports division at United Talent Agency and serves on its board of directors.

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With a reported net worth of $120 million, Paul has cultivated high-profile relationships, including a forthcoming marriage to superstar singer Adele.



Written by:

Saahil Dhillan


One take at a time

Saahil Dhillan is an NBA Writer at Essentially Sports. He has been writing articles and blogs for 5 years now, including those for a sports brand that manufactures knee braces, for a Red Bull athlete in 2019 and for a documentary of an Ultra Running Coach in 2021. There’s plenty Saahil can write about why he likes basketball, having followed the NBA for more than 10 years, but he is most keen on picking out various offense/defense strategies, on/off-court decisions, roster changes in crunch time and other underrated key elements that leave an impact on the scoreboard.
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Edited by:

Sameen Nawathe