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LeBron James reacts to Rich Paul’s United Talent Agency deal

Rich Paul, LeBron James

Rich Paul’s rise to the top of the sports agent world is complete. And nearly 20 years after first meeting Paul, his friend turned agent turned professional sports power broker, LeBron James is hardly surprised.

The Athletic and The New York Times reported on Wednesday that United Talent Agency, one of the biggest talent agencies in Hollywood, is making a “significant” investment in Klutch Sports, appointing Paul to run the UTA’s new sports division. It’s the latest in a series of moves since 2012 that have helped make Paul arguably the most powerful and high-profile agent in sports, a development that James, apparently, saw coming from the day he met the Klutch Sports head in 2002.

“I knew from day one Rich was going to build something totally different,” James said, per The Athletic’s Joe Vardon. “He understood players needed a new way to operate on and off the floor. And I know Klutch is just beginning. I’m so proud of what he’s built and to be able to call a real innovator my brother.”

James met Paul during his senior year in high school, when the basketball phenom bought retro jerseys from him out of the trunk of his car in Cleveland. The two quickly grew close, and in 2006 Paul began working with James’ agent, Leon Rose, at Creative Artists Agency. He became James’ sole agent in 2012, when he broke away from CAA to found Klutch Sports.

Paul boasts one of the most impressive client lists of any NBA agent, representing James, Anthony Davis, Ben Simmons, and more.