During the NFL Draft, Rich Paul unveiled the pieces from his inaugural Klutch Athletics collection with New Balance
Rich Paul is one of the most prolific minds in sports. Your favorite athlete’s favorite agent, the 41-year-old is the founder of Klutch Sports Group and is responsible for negotiating longtime friend and client LeBron James’ most lucrative contracts. Though he’s revered as a mastermind for others, all eyes were on Paul over NFL Draft weekend as the Cleveland native hosted the first-ever Klutch Athletics x New Balance pop-up for his new capsule with the sportswear brand. The VIP brunch in downtown Kansas City doubled as a shopping experience for those hoping for a piece of the athleisure line.
Announced in February, Klutch Athletics is a new sportswear brand from Rich Paul, co-authored with New Balance. The brand supports and serves athletes throughout their athletic journey including youth, collegiate, and professional sports. In April, Commanders star Chase Young became the first American football player to join Klutch Athletics by New Balance as a brand ambassador. The Ohio State product attended the event, entertaining media, influencers, local entertainers, and personal Paul’s personal friends.
“We’re very selective in our approach of who we select as brand ambassadors,” Paul said. “We just want high-level, high-character people and we’re going to invest back in them, as you can see we’ve done with Chase. New Balance is a well-established brand and they’ve done a tremendous job throughout the years, all while remaining authentic to who they are.”
“Finding a sense of community is really important to me,” added Young, the second-overall pick to Washington in 2020. “Just hearing how we’re going to local communities to give back to the youth and maybe change their lives aligned with my mentality. It’s obviously also so stylish. So I’m just blessed for the opportunity.”
The event was a healthy mix of casual and lush. Before entering, guests were greeted with a grassy step and repeat, optimal for photos to confirm attendance. Even walking into the space felt exclusive. Splashy signage denoting the partnership and shelves of clothing in various colorways and designs were abundant. According to New Balance, the hoodies both Paul and Young wore feature a water-repellent finish, ideal for rainy training sessions.
While shopping, guests enjoyed bites like burnt ends hash and pulled pork sliders, an homage to Kansas City’s BBQ culture. Jack Stack, a favorite among residents and newly drafted rookies, provided the protein. Staying true to the local exposure, the bar featured spirited libations and fruity concoctions from Ruby Jean’s Juicery, a Black-owned business founded by Chris Goode that specializes in beverages for the health-conscious. A DJ playing the likes of Jay-Z, Drake, and more only enhanced the energetic vibes flowing through the space.
Greatness Takes Time
Sure, the brunch was a great way to introduce the brand and sell some product. But Paul stressed the overall message of the event to Boardroom.
“We have a great partnership with New Balance, so with all our ducks in a row, we can be patient with our approach, make sure we aren’t skipping steps and really be the brand consumers actually want and believe in,” Paul said. “Also, the main thing is giving the voice back to the athlete and understanding who the athlete is. Don’t get it confused. It’s not just someone on the court or on the field. We want to integrate that world-class professional athlete with that world-class human. That’s what Klutch Athletics embodies.”
So, who is the Klutch athlete? As Paul explains it:
“I think if you’re speaking from a professional perspective, that Klutch athlete is someone who obviously not only performs at a high level but also prepares at a high level. And what I mean is mind, body, spirit and just building great habits. And then just as a person, I envision the mom getting up early in the morning and getting the kids ready for school. But she has to go to work and make sure everything is in place. She’s juggling a lot of responsibilities.”
Following the VIP brunch, Paul and Young teamed up with the Boys and Girls Club of Kansas City for a community giveback event, giving about 100 kids a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to train with the star defensive end himself. In cooperation with Good Sports, Klutch Athletics also plans to donate sports equipment to the chapter and will unveil a new mural to inspire young athletes.
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