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LeBron James' Agent Rich Paul Says White American Athletes Don't Want a Black Agent

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVMay 31, 2021

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Rich Paul has become one of the most powerful agents in the NBA, but he feels as a Black man he isn't able to get as many white clients.

"It's very difficult for me to represent a white player," Paul told Isaac Chotiner of the New Yorker.

"It just is. Look around. There’s very few," he added. "I represent a player from Bosnia. But, again, he’s international. He looks at it different."

Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic, a native of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is the lone white player in Paul's client list, which includes some of the biggest names in the NBA like LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Draymond Green and Ben Simmons. 

Paul indicated white American players don't want a Black agent.

"They’ll never say that," he said. "But they don't. I think there's always going to be that cloud over America."

Paul has been a key figure behind the scenes in recent years, taking LeBron along as a client after leaving Creative Artists Agency to form Klutch Sports Group in 2012. He has since helped shape the landscape of the league as James moved from the Miami Heat to the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency.

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The agent was considered a key reason Anthony Davis asked for a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans and eventually joined James in L.A.

"I'm a realist. When Anthony signed with Klutch Sports, I knew what was going to happen," former Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said of the trade demand in 2019, per Jackie MacMullan of ESPN.

Despite his influence in the NBA, Paul still laments his perceived limitations because of race.

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