Cleveland State University recently announced that Rich Paul, their fall commencement speaker, will also receive an honorary Bachelor of Business Administration degree on December 18th. Paul, the founder and CEO of Klutch Sports Group, manages the careers of several NBA players such as John Wall, Ben Simmons, Corey Joseph and the GOAT, LeBron James. Paul’s relationship with James has been well-documented, from their initial meeting in 2002 on a flight to Atlanta, to James deciding to appoint Paul as his agent in 2012 despite Paul limited management experience or even a college degree. Several of Klutch Sports Group clients, like Tristan Thompson and Eric Bledsoe, have received max-level contracts from their respective teams. Both players received their current deals after declining initial offers, a nod to Paul’s trust in his gut and instincts, honed in the Glenville area of Cleveland, Ohio’s east side. While the neighborhood around him succumbed to drugs, gangs and gun violence, Paul managed to avoid being a statistic, while always remembering where he came from. Paul is a continued success story, using his hustler’s mentality bred from selling throwback jerseys to creating a multi-million dollar empire with his guys. I strongly encourage anyone with a dream to rise above all obstacles to achieve success take inspiration from Rich Paul’s come up.
Personally, I’ve admired Rich Paul for quite some time. I’ve partied in the mansion he rented out in Richfield. I’ve been to the parties he helped promote and host through Eighty81 and I’ve witnessed an east side Cleveland native like myself become one of the most powerful men in sports business. I remember vividly how the sports business world perceived LRMR, when it was announced in 2012 that LeBron would turn over his business dealings to 3 Black 20-somethings who everyone considered his background singers (not “posse,” Phil Jackson.) The good ol’ boys club, consisting of pretentious, entitled White men flaunting connections and relationships, wrote off “Four Horseman” and assumed LeBron would probably be broke in 5 years without their guidance. It’s been 10 years fellas, and there’s been no sign of slowing down for either of the crew, including Paul. Since establishing Klutch Sports in 2012, the man formerly known as Revenue Rich, has become a major player in the sports agent realm. His most recent signee is Ben Simmons, the 2016 NBA Draft number one overall pick, and presumed heir to LeBron’s throne. Landing Simmons ensures that Paul can command the attention of all future NBA Lottery-worthy talent for years to come, knowing that their agent has the most powerful athlete on the planet in his recent calls list. Quite a win for a lil dude from the Ville who got on the right plane at the right time.