When news broke a few weeks back that NBA super agent Rich Paul was teaming up with United Talent Agency (UTA) to head their basketball division, it was a sign that NBA players are ready to branch out even further into their off-court pursuits in the entertainment industry.
From UTA’s perspective, partnering with Paul made them a legitimate competitor to other agencies such as CAA and WME, both of whom have burgeoning sports divisions to buoy their entertainment representation.
And while there are no reported numbers on just how big a stake UTA now owns of Paul’s Klutch Sports Group, The Hollywood Reporter described it as a, “significant investment.” Paul brings over $1 billion in NBA contract value between his list of star studded clients, including LeBron James, Anthony Davis, John Wall, Ben Simmons, Tristan Thompson, Eric Bledsoe, Draymond Green and J.R. Smith, all players who have signed lucrative long term contract extensions in the past few years.
As for how this partnership will manifest itself in the day-to-day business of agenting, it’s been made clear by the parties involved that this is a move for Paul’s clients, all of whom are athletes, to grow their brand by branching out into entertainment with the help of UTA’s existing connections.
This quote from Paul to The Athletic’s Joe Vardon was telling, and completely true.
“There is nothing we cannot do for an athlete,” Paul said. “If a guy wants to write a book, great. If he wants to be a Fortnite champion, great. If he wants to act, great. He wants to buy a surfboard company? Fantastic. There is nothing we cannot do for the modern athlete.”
In return, UTA’s reward is simple for brokering such deals: more money and a hopefully prosperous partnership with the NBA’s resident super agent.