A year later, Lawrence is gone.

The 44-year-old Everett-based sports agent passed away Wednesday. The Sports Business Journal reported he suffered a heart attack while playing basketball.

“We are devastated by today’s news, and our hearts go out to Paul’s family,” MSM partner Eugene Parker said in a statement released through the Indiana-based agency. “Paul was an important part of the Maximum family, and all of us will miss him dearly. His ability to work with our athletes and the relationships he built over the past decade (have) had a direct result in the success of our company. We will miss Paul’s vision and his daily enthusiastic approach in an industry where he has had such a positive effect.”

Lawrence had been with MSM since 2001. He broke into the profession through friendships with former Seattle SuperSonics coach Nate McMillan and current NBA player Jamal Crawford. His big break came when Crawford, who played college basketball at the University of Michigan, introduced Lawrence to Michigan football star and future NFL draft pick David Terrell. Shortly thereafter, Lawrence signed with Parker’s MSM agency.

Lawrence worked out of his Everett home. His clients included Arizona safety Adrian Wilson, St. Louis defensive tackle Darell Scott and Arizona running back Tim Hightower, according to the NFL Players Association website.

Before the 2008 NFL draft, Lawrence said one of his most rewarding relationships was with Indiana cornerback Tracy Porter, a player he landed for MSM after a year-long courtship. Porter went on to be drafted by the New Orleans Saints and became a Super Bowl hero.

While Lawrence sat in the stands at Sun Life Stadium in Miami alongside Porter’s family last February, the second-year cornerback intercepted a Peyton Manning pass and returned it 74 yards for the clinching touchdown with three minutes left in Super Bowl XLIV. The Saints went on to beat Manning’s Indianapolis Colts, 31-17, and a few days later Lawrence joked that he had already pushed Saints owner Tom Benson to “show (Porter) the money.”

According to reports, Lawrence was in New Orleans just a few days ago to attend Porter’s wedding.

Engaging and social, Lawrence used a big personality to help draw athletes to MSM. He worked in the living room of his Everett home, where he had his computer hooked up to a television set and walls lined with framed, autographed jerseys.

“I enjoy it because it’s not a desk job,” Lawrence said in a 2008 interview with The Herald. “I’m not the kind of guy who likes to sit at a desk and do the same thing every day. … Every day, it’s something different. That’s why I love it.

“Would I recommend it for others? No way. It’s a hard job.”

Lawrence is survived by his mother, Barbara; his wife, Holli; his children, Ashlee, Dominique and Trey; and his brother, Tyrone.

A funeral service is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Feb. 24 at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Snohomish (329 Avenue A).

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