Sports agent Rich Paul (left) attends game two of the 2023 NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena. Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

NBA super-agent Rich Paul believes the ongoing scoop war between ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and The Athletic’s Shams Charania is “great for basketball” and “good for everyone” in the NBA ecosystem.

Paul has a memoir out and gave his insights on every basketball fan’s favorite insider feud to Semafor media reporter Max Tani.

Paul’s position is worth digging into.

Early in Wojnarowski’s career, he constantly attacked LeBron James, who is Paul’s biggest client and longtime friend. That led NBA fans to expect friction between Woj and Paul’s Klutch Sports, which represents James as well as stars like Anthony Davis, Trae Young, and Draymond Green.

Somewhere along the way, Wojnarowski made inroads with Klutch and James’ camp. Wojnarowski famously helped create leverage for Paul and his client Ben Simmons when Simmons tried to get out of Philadelphia two years ago. Since then, Paul and Klutch have graduated to getting tagged in Woj’s NBA breaking news posts like many other agencies.

Previsouly, Charania was represented by United Talent Agency. Paul has served on UTA’s board of directors since 2020 after UTA invested in Klutch. He did not directly represent Charania, who now is managed by The Montag Group.

Clearly, it is in Paul’s interest to maintain good relationships with the NBA’s two biggest media power brokers. You never know when connecting with an insider will come back to help you.

However, many loyal NBA fans would disagree with Paul’s view on these insiders. The way they do their jobs and the commodification of info nuggets has made NBA content less about the game and more about drama. Media watchers wonder whether that has led in part to the league’s ratings decline.

Paul has his finger on the pulse of NBA marketing and branding. Attention and awareness matter now more than ever. But today’s NBA news-breaking may not actually be in the best interest of the league or its players long-term.

A previous version of this article incorrectly listed Shams Charania’s representation. He is currently represented by The Montag Group.


About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.