Rich Paul Says 2010 Op-Ed Criticizing LeBron’s ‘Decision’ Is ‘Why I Don’t Speak to Bill Simmons’

NBA agent Rich Paul reflected on Bill Simmons' 2010 criticism of LeBron's much-publicized "Decision" moment, saying "a lot of that has to do with race."

Rich Paul

Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images

Rich Paul

In a new interview with the New YorkerLeBron James’ agent and close friend Rich Paul responded to an infamous 2010 ESPN column written by Bill Simmons, which criticized LeBron’s inner circle for his “egotistical” decision to take his talents to South Beach.

In the summer of 2010, Simmons was among the long list of media members who viewed “The Decision” in a negative light. “I blame the people around [LeBron]. I blame the lack of a father figure in his life,” Simmons, then a columnist at ESPN, wrote. “I blame us for feeding his narcissism to the point that he referred to himself in the third person five times in 45 minutes.”

New Piece: In this week’s @NewYorker, I profiled Rich Paul, the agent of LeBron James and many other stars, and wrote about how the NBA is changing, and the politics of the league.

— Isaac Chotiner (@IChotiner) May 31, 2021

In his discussion with the NBA agent, the New Yorker’s Issac Chotiner asked Paul what he thought of Simmons’ past criticism of LeBron. 

“That’s why I don’t speak to Bill Simmons,” Paul said. “A lot of that has to do with race, too. He wouldn’t have said that about Larry Bird. He wouldn’t have said that about J.J. Redick. You get what I am saying?”

“‘The Decision’ 10 years ago is the norm today,” Paul continued. “It’s what everyone wants to do. Kids won’t even decide where they go to college without it being a big production, and Bill Simmons says some shit like that.”

It isn’t the first time Paul has hinted at his displeasure for Simmons. A 2018 feature for Sports Illustrated said Paul has “every rant about him from Stephen A. Smith, every call for his firing by Bill Simmons, [queued] up on his phone as evidence of the disrespect he feels.”

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