Saturday, July 13, 2024
HomeSportsRich Paul defends himself from critics who say he's destroying player loyalty

Rich Paul defends himself from critics who say he’s destroying player loyalty

Rich Paul, agent to LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Draymond Green and many others, is one of the most powerful figures in sports. All told, his Klutch Sports Group agency represents nearly 200 players in multiple leagues, and he’s helped finalize deals worth more than $4 billion.
He has made his clients enormously wealthy, but has also faced criticism as one of the driving forces of the player empowerment era, with the Anthony Davis saga, which he helped orchestrate, sticking out as a tentpole event. In a sit-down interview with “60 Minutes” on Sunday, which can be seen in full on Paramount+, Paul challenged the idea that he was destroying player loyalty, and thereby hurting the sport.
“Player loyalty to what?” Paul said. “If I can be traded in the middle of the night to another team, what I should be is educating myself to where — if this isn’t going the way I thought it was supposed to go, I can switch up. I have options. What’s the sense of having money with no options?
“When it was someone that didn’t look like me, it was genius, it was why you get a power agent but when it’s me, I’m destroying the league? I mean, those things are absurd.”
From Paul’s perspective, and the players’ he is absolutely right. Teams can trade (most) players at the drop of a hat, upending their careers and personal lives. Players, or at least the stars, clawing back some leverage in that power dynamic has been an overall net positive.
At the same time, players’ newfound willingness and ability to force their way out of situations, sometimes immediately after signing an extension, has absolutely changed the relationship between them and the fans. And that’s something that players and teams and leagues will need to grapple with in the coming years and decades as they try to maintain and grow their fanbases. How do you cultivate die-hard fans when players are changing teams every few years? Can you?
Those sorts of existential questions about the future of sports will need to be reckoned with at some point, but for now, Paul’s primary remit remains to make his clients money. And he’s extremely good at that.

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