Entrepreneur and KLUTCH Sports Group CEO Rich Paul has collaborated with New Balance on a new footwear and apparel collection. The Rich Paul for New Balance collection will contain a new colorway of the popular 550 sneaker and a graphic tee.
Paul is a trailblazer in the area of sports and talent management. He started as a young entrepreneur selling throwback jerseys out of his car. His products caught the eye of a young LeBron James.
The two built a relationship and it continued once James was drafted by the NBA. Paul worked at Creative Artists Agency under James’ second agent Leon Rose and learned the business. In 2012, Paul left CAA to start KLUTCH and James came with him.
Today KLUTCH is one of the more powerful agencies in all of sports, ranking 14th in Forbes’ Most Valuable Sports Agencies.
Paul created his own path to success and wants to inspire young kids to do the same.
“Growing up, we always had an affinity for fashion but had very limited resources to express ourselves, and few examples of what success could look like off the court,” said Paul. “When New Balance approached me about a collaboration, more than anything, I wanted to create something to inspire and empower young people coming up behind us – for boys and girls with creativity, passion and fearless determination to stay true to themselves.”
According to New Balance, this is not a typical endorsement deal, as the proceeds from the sale of the collection will be donated.
Paul has been in the news recently as it was revealed a few months ago that he is dating British pop and soul singer Adele. The two have been seen in Los Angeles taking in Lakers games and attending events at hot spots.
It isn’t all sunshine and roses for Paul as one of his biggest clients, Ben Simmons, is dealing with a situation where he doesn’t want to play for the Philadelphia 76ers. Paul is also named in a lawsuit by New York Knicks center Nerlens Noel over lost wages.
Other agents, agencies and media members have pushed back at Paul and the rise of KLUTCH. Many wonder if LeBron James is really pulling the strings behind the scenes, which would be a violation of the collective bargaining agreement if true.
The NCAA even tried to enact the so-called Rich Paul rule in 2019. A policy that required all prospective agents meet certain prerequisites — including having a bachelor’s degree — to serve as an agent.
The NCAA quickly amended the policy amid a backlash of criticism that the policy was racist in nature.
Most of the slings and arrows aimed at Paul and KLUTCH are rooted in jealousy. Here is a man that had a vision and the audacity to achieve that vision. He didn’t go about it the “traditional” way, yet he finds himself in the same rooms and at the same tables with those that did.
That’s a problem for some.
Paul is a change agent and his special collaboration with New Balance is a nod to his belief in challenging the status quo, allowing diversity of perspective to shine — and innovative thinking.
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