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Kevin Durant buys a pickleball team, joins growing list of superstar athletes to invest

Kevin Durant has officially become the latest superstar athlete to invest in a pickleball franchise.

Durant, his longtime manager Rich Kleiman and their joint Thirty Five Ventures will be a part of the pickleball ownership group.

“35V is committed to investing in the future of sports and emerging opportunities, and Major League Pickleball is a league we are incredibly excited about,” Kleiman said in a news release.

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According to the release, Thirty Five Ventures will oversee all aspects of the franchise, including marketing and player relations. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady also recently forayed into the pickleball ownership.

His ownership group purchased the team for the 2023 season, league officials announced Oct.12. The group is led by Knighthead Capital Management, LLC. 

Four-time Grand Slam champion Kim Clijsters, Wall Street’s Callie Simpkins, financial adviser Kaitlyn Kerr and Matt Alvarez make up the rest of the group. Kerr will take on the general manager role.

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Major League Pickleball announced in late September that an investment group led by Durant’s fellow NBA superstar LeBron James and Maverick Carter, his business partner, had purchased the rights to a professional pickleball team.

Golden State Warriors player Draymond Green and Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love are also a part of the investment group.

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Durant posted a video to his platform Boardroom, which is owned by Thirty Five Ventures, and said one of his goals is to build a successful team.

“We really, really want to leave our mark, from day one, on how hard our team is going to play and how successful we’re going to be as a group,” the former NBA MVP said.

Major League Pickleball was founded in 2021 and quickly expanded to 12 teams in 2022. The number will increase to 16 for the 2023 season. League officials also said prize money could exceed $2 million next season.

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