“Just stay at it. It’ll turn. In the dice game, we used to have to be able to say, “Can you stand the rain?” A guy is throwing point after point after point and you would have to stand in there and stand the rain and eventually they turn and things go the other way.”— Rich Paul
Rich Paul (@RichPaul4) is the CEO and founder of KLUTCH Sports Group, the powerhouse agency representing some of the biggest athletes across major professional sports. Paul founded KLUTCH Sports in 2012 in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, where he forged a unique and personal approach to representing top NBA talent—putting athletes first and empowering them to build careers and brands on and off the court.
In 2019, KLUTCH Sports partnered with United Talent Agency (UTA). Paul serves as UTA’s Head of Sports and is an agency partner, and he was appointed to UTA’s board of directors in 2020. In 2019, Paul was named GQ’s “Power Broker of the Year” and dubbed “The King Maker” on the cover of Sports Illustrated. In 2021, TIME recognized KLUTCH Sports on its first-ever list of TIME100 Most Influential Companies, and Variety recently named Paul to their “Variety500” list of the most influential business leaders shaping the global media industry. Paul is also credited with driving the reversal of the so-called “Rich Paul Rule,” which would have banned agents without a college degree from representing NCAA student athletes.
In 2021, Paul and three former Nike executives formed a company called ADOPT, a creative agency focused on sport, wellness, nutrition, tech, and other consumer-facing products. In 2022, Paul joined the board of trustees of LACMA and the boards of directors of Funko and Designer Brands Inc. In 2023, he joined the board of directors of Live Nation. Paul is also a minority partner of the SpringHill Company.
His new book is Lucky Me: A Memoir of Changing the Odds.
Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Podcast Addict, Pocket Casts, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, or on your favorite podcast platform. Watch the interview on YouTube here.
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Want to hear an episode with LeBron James (and Mike Mancias, his top-secret trainer)? Listen to our conversation here, in which we discussed injury prevention and recovery, self-care, career longevity, the power of sleep, environmental optimization, diet, self-talk, tattoos, and much more.
What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
SCROLL BELOW FOR LINKS AND SHOW NOTES…
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- Connect with Rich Paul:
- Lucky Me: A Memoir of Changing the Odds by Rich Paul | Amazon
- Klutch Sports Group | United Talent Agency
- Rich Paul, NBA Power Broker, Growing Up and Finding Peace | The New York Times
- LeBron James’s Agent Is Transforming the Business of Basketball | The New Yorker
- Rich Paul: NBA Free Agency Belongs to LeBron’s Agent | Sports Illustrated
- LeBron James’s Representative Completes His Own Journey | The New York Times
- Glenville | Encyclopedia of Cleveland History | Case Western Reserve University
- Cleveland Muny Football League
- Rich Paul Circa 1993 | Instagram
- Free Agency Explained | NBA
- “Rich Paul the GOAT”: Having Negotiated $900+ Million After Jarred Vanderbilt Extension, LeBron James’ Agent Receives Massive Shoutout | EssentiallySports
- White Men Can’t Jump | Prime Video
- Report: Stephen Curry Made 77 Consecutive 3-Pointers in Practice, Hit 94 of 100 | Bleacher Report
- How an Oilers’ Warren Moon Throwback Jersey Linked Lebron James to His Agent Rich Paul | Chron
- James Baldwin | Wikiquote
- Video: Charlton Heston, Sidney Poitier, Marlon Brando, Harry Belafonte, James Baldwin in a Roundtable Discussion on Civil Rights | Slate
- Paul Speaks Out About Negative Consequences of ‘Rich Paul Rule’ | NBC Sports
- Warren Buffett Was ‘Terrified’ of Public Speaking and Took 3 Steps to Conquer His Fear | Inc.com
- Rich Paul: Power Broker of the Year | GQ
- Cooking for the Pros | Sports Illustrated
- Hourly Professional Athlete Salary | ZipRecruiter
- Magic Johnson, Wayne Gretzky, and 13 Great Players Who Couldn’t Coach | Bleacher Report
- Why We’re OK with LeBron James Being Mr. Nice Guy | Bleacher Report
- In My Lifetime, Vol.1 [Explicit] by Jay-Z | Amazon
- I Want You by Marvin Gaye | Amazon
- Good Times | Prime Video
- How the Record Sale of “The Sugar Shack” Made Ernie Barnes the Comeback Kid | Artsy
- Mortal Kombat | Wikipedia
- [08:04] The store where Rich’s story began.
- [10:30] The cover choice for Rich’s memoir, Lucky Me.
- [11:43] How Rich negotiated a lucrative free agency period.
- [17:16] Street gambling as a youth.
- [19:35] Good advice for avoiding bad deals.
- [21:26] Meeting and creating an enduring relationship with LeBron James.
- [22:48] The influence of James Baldwin.
- [24:53] Rich’s experience with higher education and thoughts on the so-called “Rich Paul rule.”
- [28:01] Best investments of time, energy, or money.
- [30:25] How Rich beat out bigger competition to land clients.
- [33:56] Helping aspiring pros establish the infrastructure they need to succeed.
- [37:52] Key ingredients for emotional support and stability.
- [39:54] Driving home the importance of preparing for a career’s rainy days.
- [42:42] LeBron James’ ego.
- [45:21] Why is Rich’s book titled Lucky Me?
- [47:04] When the entrepreneurial impulse leads to darkness.
- [50:02] The Ernie Barnes piece in Rich’s collection.
- [51:12] Player empowerment.
- [53:15] Rich’s most influential confidence builders.
- [55:28] What prompted Rich to write Lucky Me?
- [59:02] Rich’s billboard.
- [59:58] Parting thoughts.
MORE RICH PAUL QUOTES FROM THE INTERVIEW
“Some people define the business card and some people are defined by their business card.”
— Rich Paul
“Just stay at it. It’ll turn. In the dice game, we used to have to be able to say, “Can you stand the rain?” A guy is throwing point after point after point and you would have to stand in there and stand the rain and eventually they turn and things go the other way.”
— Rich Paul
“I don’t really have a lot of gray in me. It’s pretty black and white.”
— Rich Paul
“Now, we all have ego. Don’t get me wrong. You have to have an ego to have confidence, but you’re not invested in your ego. You’re not leading with the ego. You know when the ego is supposed to come out the room and when it’s not.”
— Rich Paul
“I know it may seem dark and gray and bleak and challenging, but you tend to think that everyone’s paying attention to you and what you’ve got going on, and so you get discouraged. But in reality, they’re not. Everyone has their own problems. Just get through yours. Get through them, continue to push, continue to persevere, and you can end up in a different spot.”
— Rich Paul
“I was extremely lucky to go through some of the things that I went through to help shape me and mold me to understand life’s challenges and to be able to survive those thunderstorms emotionally … to get out on the other side.”
— Rich Paul
- Rich Paul, Sr.
- Draymond Green
- Jerami Grant
- Stephen Curry
- LeBron James
- James Baldwin
- John Singleton
- Hughes Brothers
- Warren Buffett
- Dale Carnegie
- Tyronn Lue
- Adrian Griffin
- Quin Snyder
- John Stockton
- Darvin Ham
- Jamahl Mosley
- Maverick Carter
- Randy Mims
- Ernie Barnes
- Marvin Gaye
- Eddie Murphy
- Reggie Miller
- Dirk Nowitzki
- Kobe Bryant
- Kevin Durant
- Bill Belichick
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