Four years ago, Phil Jackson referred to LeBron James’ business partners as a “posse.”
It was an ignorant comment dipped in prejudice, with a Salt Bae sprinkle of racism.
“It just sucks that now at this point having one of the biggest businesses you can have both on and off the floor, having a certified agent in Rich Paul, having a certified business partner in Maverick Carter that’s done so many great business [deals], that the title for young African-Americans is the word ‘posse,” said LeBron at the time.
Four years later, the coronavirus is demonstrating just how good Rich Paul, James’ agent/close friend/“posse” member, is at his job.
While NBA players received paychecks on Wednesday, it’s still unclear when, and if, they might get another one, as the league is trying to withhold 1.08 percent of player’s salary from every game missed due to the coronavirus, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times. It’s expected that almost 90 percent of players will take a hit as they’re on 12-month payment plans.
But, guess who represents the majority of the players in that 10 percent?
You know who.
Paul was able to negotiate for his clients “all-you-can-get” deals that will allow James, John Wall, Kentavious-Caldwell Pope, Dejounte Murray, Miles Bridges, Darius Bazley, Darius Garland, Terrance Ferguson, and Trey Lyles to receive maximum salary advances, along with an accelerated six-month payment schedule. Draymond Green will be added to that group next season when his contract extension begins.
And while they’re not part of Paul’s Klutch Sports Group, and have other representation, the likes of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Blake Griffin and Otto Porter all have similar language in their contracts, as less than 20 players in the league have these types of deals.
Irving and James are former teammates, and LeBron and Durant have a strong relationship. It seems likely that Irving and Durant may have learned some savvy business moves from James and Paul along the way.
According to Forbes, Klutch Sports Group has made over $32 million in commissions, has at least 63 contract years under management, and has a minimum of $814 million in contract value under management. And RealGM.com has 31 clients on Paul’s roster.
Last summer, United Talent Agency heavily invested in Klutch, making Paul the Head of UTA Sports. And in January, Klutch dipped into the NFL world when they acquired Revolution Sports Agency, which has a roster that includes Browns receiver Jarvis Landry, Broncos back Melvin Gordon, and Saints back Alvin Kamara.
“Rich has built Klutch with the vision, values and entrepreneurial spirit that UTA cherishes,” said UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer. “By focusing on growing clients’ businesses and putting their interests first, Klutch is built for the modern athlete who wants to thrive at the intersection of sports, media, music, art, and culture. We are thrilled to work with Rich and his team to build Klutch and UTA Sports into a global powerhouse.”
I wonder if Phil Jackson is looking for representation.