With LeBron James inching closer to retirement, Rich Paul’s influence in the NBA is set to take a huge hit. We discuss how David Falk suffered similar consequences after Michael Jordan hung up his boots, and how his journey mirrors Paul’s.
Rich Paul recently made headlines after being sued by Knicks big Nerlens Noel for responsibility in lost earnings worth $58 million. His Klutch group has its fair share of influence with big names including LeBron James, Draymond Green, Trae Young, and Ben Simmons. However, he is bound to take a hit in popularity after this fiasco.
Paul’s name is synonymous with his biggest client LeBron James, as was David Falk’s with Michael Jordan. After Michael Jordan retired in 1999, Falk suddenly had the NBA fraternity despising him for similar instances of exerting too much influence. He was reportedly forced to step down in 2001.
Could this be ominous for the Rich Paul, especially with LeBron James not far off his playing days?
David Falk was no stranger to wielding power. He, in fact, is still regarded to be the most influential player agent in league history. Falk was regarded as the force behind the success of Air-Jordans and MJ’s status as the most marketable athlete ever. His involvement in the two NBA lockouts also propelled his fame to great heights.
Falk was reportedly the second most powerful man in the league after commissioner David Stern for a brief period.
This was also when he began to earn his detractors. Isiah Thomas, the NBPA president publicly blamed Falk for “trying to take over the union for years”.
He was also famously dubbed as a “Rasputin off the bench” by the media. A few years later, his influence on new president Patrick Ewing would be regarded to be excessive as well.
Falk still remained agent for big names including Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo even after Jordan’s retirement. He was not held in the same regard since, however. After staying chairman of SFX, an umbrella agency, he stepped down in 2001 after seeing his power diminish across the NBA.
Rich Paul is seemingly headed towards a similar trajectory, with his actions being reflective of his hunger for power. Since a lot of his influence in the NBA is based on his proximity to LeBron, he clearly might suffer the same fate as his predecessor. The Klutch Sports empire which has transformed the basketball business might never be the same.