Everyone is Scared of Rich Paul
NCAA Sends Memo About New Agent Policy
Rich Paul doesn’t have a college degree, but he's one of the most influential men in sports, and he just flipped the basketball world upside down.
Known as the agent of LeBron James, Paul first met The King when he was in high school at the Cleveland airport. He was selling throwback jerseys out of the trunk of his car when he ran into LeBron, and a friendship ensued.
LeBron was fond of an old Warren Moon jersey Paul was wearing.
“It was fate,” Paul said. “I could have missed the plane. I could have taken an earlier flight. I could have not worn the jersey. I could have been having a bad day and not spoken to him.”
When LeBron was drafted in 2003, he hired Paul as his personal assistant for $50,000 a year.
Paul now represents James, Anthony Davis, Draymond Green, Ben Simmons, and more than 20 players under the umbrella of his own sports agency, Klutch Sports Group, and his power-to-the-player moves have prompted the powers that be to fight back.
On Tuesday, the NCAA shared a memo regarding eligibility rules for collegiate athletes, saying that basketball players can only use an NCAA-certified agent when considering the NBA Draft, a return to college ball, or other options. Here’s why:
Rich Paul Has Too Much Power
You might recall the Anthony Davis trade demand that landed him in Los Angeles with LeBron James… that was Rich Paul.
Draymond Green’s 4-Year, $100 million contract extension (signed over the weekend) is even with Giannis Antetokounmpo’s contract, and he’s the reigning MVP. That was Rich Paul.
Darius Bazley completely avoided the NCAA in favor of a seven-figure internship with New Balance last season. He was drafted by the Thunder this year without stepping foot on a college campus. That was Rich Paul.
Most recently, R.J. Hampton – an 18-year-old, top-five prospect in 2019 – is heading to New Zealand over the NCAA this season, and he just signed a multimillion-dollar endorsement deal with Li-Ning. He’s not represented by Rich Paul, but he’s another part of the movement that Rich Paul created.
Rich Paul vs. The NCAA
Have you seen the 2019 Netflix film ‘High Flying Bird’? Assuming you haven’t, but it’s about an agent who grabs the NBA by the horns amid a lockout and finds loopholes to help players profit. That movie should’ve been called ‘Rich Paul.’
The new NCAA policy states that NCAA athletes – who were recently given the ability to explore hiring an agent and returning to school – must only explore the draft process by using an NCAA-certified agent who has a bachelor’s degree and three years of consecutive experience with the NBAPA.
In reality, the new rule is a joke, and it shouldn’t threaten Rich Paul’s ability to land new clients – he’s too big now to go after second-round draft picks teetering on the fence between college and the NBA. But the new policy is targeting the next Rich Paul; the friend in the entourage of a budding superstar who threatens the system.
The Anthony Davis trade saga changed things. The Darius Bazley route changed things. The LeBron James business changed things. Now, it’s not the system – the NBA, NCAA, ownership groups, or veteran agents – who have the power… it’s the players.
Rich Paul changed things.
Sports Illustrated: LeBron James Criticizes NCAA’s New Rule
Yahoo Sports: NCAA’s ‘Rich Paul Rule’ Shows It’s Contempt for Basketball Players