With the NBA’s elite players converging in Charlotte for All-Star Weekend, owners and agents are fearful of a player empowerment summit.
Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul and LeBron James are major threats to the current NBA power structure. The owners (and other agents on the low) are pushing the league to do something about it, while social media fuels the fire and mainstream media feeds right into the hype.
Amazing level of reporting here from @joevardon to identify The Who and How that is involved in steps LeBron is taking to become an NBA owner when he’s done playing.
Talked to LeBron, Magic, Rich Paul, and others and laid out the plan, comparing it also to what MJ went through https://t.co/mbcF57L8kH
— Sergio Gonzalez (@thatgonzalez) February 14, 2019
NBA owners are undoubtedly dreading All-Star Weekend, which kicks off tonight with the Celebrity All-Star game as the league’s elite performers will all be congregating, fraternizing, partying and discussing dreams and hopes — maybe even planning the next coup d’é·tat.
It’s a convergence of Black power that would make any oppressive capitalist cringe.
Lebron was in attendance to see Zion Williamson and Duke play Virginia last Saturday, setting off a social media firestorm. People started making assumptions, throwing out hyperbole and once again accusing LeBron of making it a “recruiting trip.”
LeBron’s response was forceful and he seems a bit agitated at this point. In fact, he let it be known that these accusations are nothing more than an attack on his African-American agent and friend Rich Paul, whose portfolio and client list has been taking a chunk of money and control from the white-run agencies that have long dominated the sport.
“A recruiting trip? I didn’t talk to anybody. They’re only saying that because it’s (agent Rich Paul),” Bron said.
LeBron and Paul’s media and business empires have been well documented of late and their power play with trying to help force Anthony Davis to LA has been lauded as black player empowerment and criticized as dirty pool.
LeBron James Says He Wasn't Tampering Or Recruiting Zion Williamson To Rich Paul's Agency By Going To Duke Gamehttps://t.co/QaQTMrVxRe
— BroBible (@BroBible) February 15, 2019
“Now Rich is a threat to everybody and they look at it and they want to keep trying to jab my agent and jab my friend…And what is he doing that’s wrong? They don’t say that about no other agent when other guys go see (players). They don’t say that about no other agent but my guy because he’s a threat. And he’s African-American, too. Throw that in there.”
LeBron sounds a bit fed up with the scrutiny, criticism and the Machiavellian praise. He’s the master of switching up the narrative, but I will give him credit for once again having the guts to tell it like is and not dance around the issues.
Players recruiting players is nothing new.
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) February 15, 2019
But when the black man turns the table on the system, people are going to have a problem with it. LeBron James probably gets more credit than he deserves for being a “mastermind” of team construction, and in some cases the most influential and powerful player in the NBA.
The accepted narrative is that Rich Paul, Magic Johnson, LeBron and Anthony Davis constructed The Brow’s attempted LA bailout way in advance… which is technically against the rules. Tensions and fears among owners around the league continues to build.
In the NBA’s new climate — where African-American superstars are forcing trades, creating Super Teams and using a temporary leverage to create the perfect situation — team owners and the league are especially sensitive to LeBron James or anyone associated with his power structure, talking to players.
Earlier this week, LeBron and the Lakers came under the league’s microscope, again, when the NBA launched a brief investigation into whether potential contact between the Sixers’ Ben Simmons and the Lakers’ Magic Johnson violated league rules.
NBA: "“We have concluded that Magic Johnson’s statements regarding Ben Simmons do not constitute a tampering violation."
— Liz Mullen (@SBJLizMullen) February 12, 2019
Sixers’ GM Elton Brand isn’t sweating it though, stating that his star player just wanted to pick the brain of the basketball legend.
“No issue,” said Brand to ESPN. “I have a great relationship with Ben and his agent Rich Paul and we expect him to be a Sixer for a long time. He has taken interest in chatting with some of the game’s all-time greats and we’re supportive.”
Player talk to each other all the time. Younger players often reach out and pick the brains of veterans players. It’s called camaraderie.
However, LeBron’s reputation for forming calculated Super Teams, Rich Paul’s reputation with strong arm tactics and Magic’s open desperation for another superstar to pair with James makes it a story every time any of these guys breathes on another team’s player.