Business

LeBron James’ business partner Rich Paul unveils new sportswear brand with New Balance

Klutch Athletics will support and serve athletes throughout their athletic journey including youth, collegiate and professional sports
Courtesy: Clutch Athletics

Rich Paul, the sports agent who represents LeBron James, is launching a new sportswear brand with New Balance.

The new brand will be called Klutch Athletics, and the company says its mission is to provide all athletes with high-quality training apparel and empower them throughout their sports journey.

Paul said his goal was to create training products that are both functional and stylish.

“There’s a gap right now that we can fill,” Paul said in a news release. “We’ve seen other brands moving away from youth sports and training, so we’re focused on bringing the new look of training for the next generation.”

The apparel will range in price from $40 for T-shirts to $120 for hoodies. Items will hit select store shelves and be available online beginning April 27.

For New Balance, the partnership offers a fresh new angle in combining sports and culture.

“Rich has deep cultural roots in the world of sport and together we will realize a vision that has yet to be seen by the modern-day athlete. We always strive to take a differentiated approach — this partnership truly exemplifies our independent mindset as a brand,” said Chris Davis, New Balance chief marketing officer.

The Boston-based footwear and apparel brand has seen a resurgence of late, with Foot Locker CEO Mary Dillon calling out the brand’s momentum on her company’s earnings call in November. New Balance sales were up 70% for the sneaker store during the third quarter, Dillon said.

Klutch Athletics Will Launch its First Collection this Spring
Courtesy: Klutch Athletics

Paul, who has been named one of the most powerful sports agents by Forbes, founded the Klutch Sports Group in 2012.

His relationship with NBA superstar James dates back to a random airport run-in more than 20 years ago, when the two men bonded over a Warren Moon jersey. The relationship deepened over the years, and Paul quickly became part of James’ inner circle and his sports agent. Earlier this year, the two invested in Fanatics’ lifestyle brand Mitchell & Ness.

But it’s unlikely James will sport Klutch Athletic clothing: James signed a lifetime deal with Nike in 2015, which would prevent him from wearing competitors’ brands.

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