Sports agent Rich Paul represents an abundance of talent with his Klutch Sports Group and his A-list clients, who include Anthony Davis, Trae Young, Lonzo Ball, OG Anunoby, Draymond Green and LeBron James. Paul, who burst through the door with James in 2003 as part of the future NBA Hall of Famer’s inner circle, has become one of the most respected and powerful agents in the NBA but recently revealed to The New Yorker that many White athletes won’t sign with him.
As a successful sports agent working in a profession dominated by White males, some perceive Paul’s long list of accomplishments and deals as luck, while others simply won’t admit they don’t want to be represented by someone Black. “It’s very difficult for me to represent a White player. It just is. Look around. There’s very few. I represent a player from Bosnia. But, again, he’s international. He looks at it different,” Paul explained to journalist Isaac Chotiner.
“So White players who are American don’t want a Black agent?” Chotiner asked.
“They’ll never say that. But they don’t,” Paul replied. “I think there’s always going to be that cloud over America.”
Jusuf Nurkic of the Portland Trail Blazers is the Bosnian player who signed with Paul in 2019. Keeping it fair, Paul admitted during the interview that many Black athletes also were reluctant to sign with him, believing they have a grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side mentality.
During the interview, Paul also discussed the media circus surrounding LeBron James making “The Decision” to leave for the Miami Heat 11 years ago and how race is an underlying issue in the coverage as well. Former ESPN columnist Bill Simmons blasted James for the press conference decision and had a few negative comments about James’ family at the time as well.
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