Isaac Chotiner recently did an in-depth article on Rich Paul, who represents LeBron James. It had a shocking revelation from an NBA GM.
Rich Paul is representative of one of the burgeoning aspirational classes to have risen alongside professional sports. Sports agencies and player agents have become more and more ubiquitous across sports.
More and more sports require athletes to communicate with organizations through an intermediary like an agent. This allows democratization of the negotiation process between teams and athletes.
Unlike other sports agents, however, Rich Paul had a most unconventional path to the top. This man did not attend an Ivy League university for his undergraduate degree. He didn’t enroll at a top-20 B-School to prepare himself for the world of sporting finance.
Instead, he cultivated a relationship with the most popular basketball player of the 21st century. And by the looks of it, this relationship was earned, not a package deal that came from being friends with LeBron James.
“Player empowerment was the worst thing to happen to sports”: Rich Paul says an NBA GM said this
As mentioned before, Chotiner’s piece on the New Yorker regarding Rich Paul is fascinating, to say the least. It also involves a rather uncomfortable truth as told to the writer by an NBA GM:
“Player empowerment is a catchall for the fact that the league has done a terrible job of empowering teams. The players have all of the leverage in every situation. I think it’s the worst thing that ever happened to professional sports on all levels.”
“The players have all of the leverage in every situation. I think it’s the worst thing that ever happened to professional sports on all levels.”
– NBA GM on player empowerment
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) May 31, 2021
This statement was made in reference to the power wielded by a superstar like LeBron James in today’s NBA. James can dictate the future of several franchises with his decisions as a free agent.
With player movement on the rise and with the advent of the supermax contract, it’s clear that players mean business with regards to their own empowerment. They have learnt that they deserve their fair share of a pie which wouldn’t exist without them.