No. 2 Duke is at No. 3 Virginia in a huge rematch from a pretty great game earlier in the year, and NBA superstar LeBron James didn’t want to settle for watching this one on TV.
King James is courtside at John Paul Jones Arena for tonight’s ACC slugfest.
Los Angeles Lakers’ teammate Rajon Rondo, the hero of the team’s win over the Boston Celtics this week, is with him, while it appears that his friend, agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, is behind him.
As ESPN’s Dave McMenamin notes, James is close with Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, who coached him in the Olympics, and has extended a scholarship offer to his son Bronny.
Not totally surprising to see LeBron jet down to Virginia the day before a game in Philadelphia. 1. Coach K made a standing scholarship offer to his son, Bronny 2. He’s a sports fiend with a bucket list he wants to check off https://t.co/XuF2uPZXZX pic.twitter.com/Z9hFAxJhOE
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) February 9, 2019
Of course, Paul’s appearance at the game raises some questions.
Duke’s freshman trio of Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, and Cam Reddish are all potential top five picks and someone like Paul would probably love to represent them.
The Action Network’s Darren Rovell goes so far as to argue that LeBron James being at the game could be seen as tampering, given his alleged involvement in Paul’s Klutch Sports.
Rovell tweeted as much earlier during the game.
Fine line between LeBron showing up at a Duke game and potentially recruiting for agency he is associated with Klutch. But Players Association, which regulates agents, would never say anything because James is #2 ranking player executive in union. pic.twitter.com/dZr6M16Dyl
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) February 9, 2019
Paul’s recent push to try and get his second-most noteworthy client, Anthony Davis, traded, with the Lakers as perhaps the leading destination, led the New Orleans Pelicans to publicly gripe about the league’s tampering policy.
Ultimately, Davis was not moved ahead of the trade deadline.
LeBron and Rich Paul aren’t the first celebrities with connections to agencies to check out Duke games this year. Rapper Jay Z of Roc Nation Sports was in Pittsburgh earlier this year to see the team.
Both Jay Z and LeBron James have now shown up at Zion Williamson/Duke road games in Pittsburgh and Charlottesville this season.
These high-powerful individuals also have ties to Roc Nation and Klutch Sports. Could just be a coincidence, I won’t speculate or anything… pic.twitter.com/73ddcptfSy
— Jeff Eisenband (@JeffEisenband) February 10, 2019
Duke leads 70-61 with just over three minutes remaining.