Imagine representing some of the most successful Black athletes in sports today and still being overlooked due to issues that involve discrimination. Even with your record of accomplishments and success story, it is still not good enough to sway other races to work with you. This unfortunate scenario plays out constantly for NBA agent Rich Paul. Paul who currently manages several NBA heavyweights such as Lebron James and Anthony Davis recently revealed to The New Yorker that he has trouble signing White-American Athletes. During the interview, he discussed his humble career beginnings and where he is currently at professionally. Paul also shared what it is like being a Black man in the predominately white-driven sports management industry.
After several paragraphs being strictly dedicated to Paul’s rise in the sports management industry, the article then shifted towards darker topics involving racial issues. It began when Paul discussed the various intentions that his company has when representing black athletes. He feels that it is his job to make money for his clients and teach them how to spend it correctly. He even mentioned that black athletes are often reluctant to sign with black agents due to them having a “grass is greener on the other side mentality”. This mindset is often installed in black athletes due to the lack of representation of black sports agents in sports history.
In the same breath, he also acknowledged that white athletes will not sign with him as well. “It’s very difficult for me to represent a white player, says Paul.” At this moment he represents only a handful of white athletes. One prominent client of his that is white is Jusuf Nurkic of the Portland Trail Blazers. Nurkic is from Bosnia, and Paul thinks that international players like Nurkic have different views. The interviewer then asked the million-dollar question “so white players who are American don’t want a Black agent?” Paul replied “They’ll never say that. But they don’t.” He continued saying, “I think there’s always going to be that cloud over America.”