LeBron James takes to social media to protest NCAA’s “Rich Paul rule”

LeBron James
CHARLOTTE, NC – FEBRUARY 16: (L-R) Anthony Davis, LeBron James, Rich Paul, Ben Simmons, and Miles Bridges attend the Klutch 2019 All Star Weekend Dinner Presented by Remy Martin and hosted by Klutch Sports Group at 5Church on February 16, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Dominique Oliveto/Getty Images for Klutch Sports Group 2019 All Star Weekend)

On Tuesday, the NCAA sent out a memo denoting some changes to their procedures. In particular, the memo, released through the National Basketball Players Association, outlined the necessary requirements for an agent to represent an early draft candidate. Notably, they include the need for an agent to have a Bachelor’s degree, a distinction that has many calling it the Rich Paul rule after the Klutch Sports executive who is one of the most powerful agents in the basketball world despite not earning a college degree.

In addition to the need to have a degree, the NCAA also requires agents to have been certified for three years and to take an in-person exam in order to represent any college athletes who are testing the draft waters before deciding whether they will turn professional or return to school.

The rule has, rightfully, been met with a lot of criticism given the NCAA’s history of limiting athlete’s power and ability to earn money while greedily acquiring as much of it as possible for themselves.

Of course, LeBron James, Paul’s most notable client and close friend, took to social media to express his thoughts on the NCAA rule:

LeBron was not the only person to connect the dots to Paul and lend his support. The super agent’s clients and other athletes all took to Twitter to give their thoughts.

Whether the NCAA is directly targeting Paul is up for debate, of course. The two sides clearly do not work in each other’s best interests, especially a year after another of his high-profile clients, Darius Bazley, opted to forego playing in college to go to the G-League, eventually being drafted 23rd overall in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Regardless of whether Paul himself is the target (he will be very successful regardless of this rule), it’s clear that the NCAA is playing a precautionary approach to the next person to follow in Paul’s footsteps. In effect, the NCAA is protecting its own power while issuing a rule that will disproportionately target black players and representatives without any added benefit to the players they claim to be protecting.

James has been a champion of social rights through his outsized voice for a long time. That’s especially true in the realm of African-American rights, which plays a major role in this issue, beyond the NCAA’s usual scheming. As usual, LeBron’s voice is a sorely needed one.

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