Rich Paul first met LeBron James at the Akron-Canton Airport when they were about to board a flight to Atlanta.
James was captivated by Paul's Warren Moon throwback jersey and the future player agent was on his way to Atlanta to buy more as he was selling jerseys out of the trunk of his car.
Paul gave James his connection in Atlanta and said that he would receive a discount if he were to drop his name.
“It was fate,” Paul said. “I could have missed the plane. I could have taken an earlier flight. I could have not worn the jersey. I could have been having a bad day and not spoken to him.”
The two eventually became friends and eventually business partners.
“We hit it off instantly,” James said. “Every time I was doing something, I’d call Rich and ask if he can make it, and he’d say, ‘I’ll be right there,’ and he was.”
Paul eventually began bringing in $15,000 per week in revenue and began looking for a store location until James hired him after the 2003 NBA Draft.
“He told me that he really didn’t have a job for me, but that he wanted me close and we’d figure it out,” Paul said.