Rich Paul on Supportive Relationship With Adele and Working With Denzel Washington to Help Kids (Exclusive)
The ‘Lucky Me’ author talks to ET about his memoir, relationship and teaming up with Denzel Washington.
Rich Paul is opening up about the trials and tribulations of his life in a brand new memoir, Lucky Me: A Memoir of Changing the Odds. The Klutch Sports Group founder gave ET’s Nischelle Turner the scoop on sharing his story, teaming up with Denzel Washington to offer guidance to kids of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and the support he receives from his superstar partner, Adele.
Lucky Me chronicles Paul’s journey from growing up in a crime-ridden section of Cleveland, Ohio, in the ’80s and ’90s to becoming one of the world’s most powerful sports agents. In the memoir, Paul recalls some of the deep traumas of his early life, such as having a mother who struggled with drug addiction, having to routinely duck gunfire from warring neighbors, or run for his young life after winning a high-stakes dice game.
The 41-year-old sports agent credits his late father, Rich Paul Sr., for being the positive difference that allowed him to change his life, teaching him skills that helped him survive his childhood trauma and thrive in the life he’s built for himself today. It’s those lessons that Paul hopes to impart by sharing his story in his memoir.
“There’s so much on social media, and [yet] there’s a lack of teaching in our content today. When I was growing up, we had certain shows that ended with, you know, a problem solved, an example of what not to do. You learned there was something educational within the story and I think we’re lacking that,” Paul tells ET. “And so, whenever you have an opportunity to be an example, you want to be that.”
Although Paul says he “held a lot back” when writing Lucky Me, he still found it “therapeutic” to share the parts of his journey that made it into the book. “I’m normally not that type of person, I’m not a big social media guy. But ultimately, when they first asked me about it, I [didn’t want it] to be this puff piece, ‘look at what I did,’ type of message.”
“When I think back on all these things, just the trials and tribulations, I used to think that they were a detriment to me,” Paul says, confessing that he felt like he should be embarrassed by the challenges he faced in his past. “But today, they become assets because we work in an environment where I work around a lot of entitled people — their entitlement comes from their business card. I wasn’t allowed to be that, so there’s just a different dynamic… The more successful I become, the harder I actually want to work and I don’t feel like anybody is gonna give me anything despite how far I’ve come.”
And Paul has come a long way. So long that he’s taking the opportunity to use his resources and give back to the community.
Enter Washington and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
Paul explains that he and the 68-year-old Oscar winner have cultivated a close friendship after sitting beside each other at several basketball games. “[We] kept in touch and [I] also kept in touch with [Washington’s wife] Ms. Pauletta. It’s just an organic, very natural thing.”
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The pair has teamed up to bring Paul’s story to the young patrons of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, teaching them the lessons that Paul learned from his father and more.
Washington, who has been a national spokesperson for the organization for over 25 years, tells ET that although he doesn’t do this kind of thing for everybody, he wanted to be there with Paul.
“And I’m glad I am. I believe in the Boys & Girls Club; I know what it’s done for me and I believe that this is a story that should be shared,” Washington says. “I’m glad in any kind of way to be part of sharing it. I think it’s important. I think what happened today is what it’s really all about for these young people, to look at someone like Rich and go, ‘Hey, if he can do it, I can do it.'”
He continues, “I’m glad they got to hear it first, to see him in the flesh. To go, ‘Oh, OK, that’s a guy who does these things and he’s here and we’re here to see him and he’s some big shot.” And they can go take the book home and go, ‘Oh, wait a minute, his mom might’ve been like my mom,’ [and see] whatever the common [link is].”
Paul says he appreciates being able to speak with the kids in person, adding, “I think that a lot of times it’s just so important to be an example and for these kids to have positive examples.”
Meanwhile, the book is already receiving rave reviews from someone whose opinion ranks among the highest for Paul — his GRAMMY-winning partner.
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Paul, and Adele, 35, have been linked together since May 2021. For the most part, the pair has kept their love mum, sometimes appearing alongside each other courtside at basketball games, and at the 2023 GRAMMYs. In an interview with People, Paul previously shared that he had the support of Adele while writing and publishing his memoir about his life making the rise from hustler to multimillion-dollar businessman.
“It was very emotional,” he told the magazine about Adele’s response after reading the book. “I think a lot of it probably hit home, so yeah, it was a difficult read [for her].”
Speaking with ET, Paul reiterates the sentiment, sharing how it feels to see his partner publicly support his work. “I just really appreciate it. You know, I don’t really get into my personal life, but yeah, you appreciate it,” he says, smiling. “It’s important to support those who support you. And we support each other, so it’s great.”