UTA Adds LeBron Agent Rich Paul To Board As First African-American Board Member

Rich Paul and LeBron James talk during halftime of a 2019 NBA game. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty ... [+] Images) Getty Images Rich Paul, who started his career selling jerseys from the trunk of his car and leveraged an early relationship with LeBron James into one of the most influential sports management firms in the…


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Rich Paul and LeBron James talk during halftime of a 2019 NBA game. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty … [+] Images)

Getty Images

Rich Paul, who started his career selling jerseys from the trunk of his car and leveraged an early relationship with LeBron James into one of the most influential sports management firms in the NBA and beyond, has been added to the board of directors for United Talent Agency.



With his elevation, Paul becomes the first African-American board member of the agency, one of Hollywood’s “Big Four” talent-representation organizations.

Rich Paul of Klutch Sports Group and UTA Sports

(Image courtesy of UTA)

“It’s an honor to join the Board of Directors of a prestigious and successful company like UTA and one so committed to its culture,” said Paul. “These are opportunities not often presented to Black men and women, so it comes with added responsibility to use my position not just to help drive a global business forward but to create more chances for people who look like me and face the same challenges I did. My motivation is to help ensure all young people of color live up to their potential and succeed in the face of the systemic inequality that remains as real today as ever.”

UTA invested a “significant stake” in Paul’s Klutch Sports Group a year ago, and made Paul both a partner and head of the agency’s sports division. UTA Sports has since acquired Revolution Sports Agency and Tidal Sports Group, expanding its client base in the NFL and MLB, and added prominent sports agent Omar Wilkes.

Paul, 38, and Klutch represent one of the NBA’s most glittering portfolios of content, including James and his Los Angeles Lakers teammate Anthony Davis, along with such other All-Stars as Draymond Green, Ben Simmons and John Wall. After learning the agency craft under CAA’s Leon Rose, Paul launched Klutch in 2012.

“Our association with Rich Paul has been a true bright spot since he partnered with us a year ago,” said UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer, also a board member. “We were determined to come together and build a cutting-edge, full-service representation arm for athletes, and are well on our way. Adding Rich to the Board gives us additional perspective and support as we strive to be the best company for all our colleagues and clients. Rich has a keen and unblinking eye for the truth of how we all win together.” 

 UTA’s other board members are co-presidents David Kramer and Jay Sures, chairman Jim Berkus, cofounder Peter Benedek, COO Andrew Thau and senior agents Tracey Jacobs, Blair Kohan and Matt Rice.

Paul has also “championed opportunities for underprivileged communities,” according to a UTA release, including the launch of Klutch Conversations with Chance the Rapper’s SocialWorks charity, and sponsor General Mills.

Paul’s sports group became a significant enough disrupter in the NBA that the league pushed through a rule banning agents without college degrees, believed by many to be particularly targeting Paul and Klutch. Eventually, the NBA backed off the so-called “Rich Paul Rule.”

Last week, Endeavor, the parent company of one of UTA’s biggest competitors, announced a $5 million inclusion plan that included working with actor Michael B. Jordan’s Color of Change initiative, #ChangeHollywood. The plan includes initiatives to invest in “anti-racist content and authentic black stories,” Black talent and careers, and communities, among more than 30 points. Endeavor’s holdings include the talent agency WME and Endeavor Content.

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