Kevin Durant, Pickleball’s New Team Owner

Earlier this month Kevin Durant joined the a growing list of celebrity athletes who own a pickleball team.

  • Brooklyn Nets superstar: Check
  • 2-times NBA Champion: Check
  • 12-times NBA All-Star: Check
  • Pickleball team owner: Check

Kevin Durant became an owner alongside his manager, Rich Kleiman and their investment firm 35V (or Thirty Five Ventures). According to Durant, he “never thought” he’d get into the world of pickleball, but luckily Kleiman introduced him to the sport. Now Durant considers pickleball “small passion.”

Kevin Durant, pickleball player, is heating up on the court.

No surprise: pickleball is the future of sports

It’s no surprise that Durant is doubling down on pickleball as part of his investment firm 35V, whose tagline is “[i]nvesting in the future of sports.” Durant and Kleiman founded 35V in 2016. Since then, 35V has grown into a “multi-faceted sports, media and entertainment company.” In 2019 35V launched a new media company called Boardroom that cover sports, entertainment, business and culture.

Durant’s small passion to active pickleball team owner

Durant wants to be an active owner in MLP. Durant says that his passion for pickleball is” just gonna keep building … We’re gonna be operating this ourselves, being tasked with building this brand from the ground up.” Major League Pickleball thinks this active passion will bode well for helping grow the sport.

“Kevin Durant, Rich Kleiman, and 35V are going to be game-changing partners for Major League Pickleball.”

“They not only bring passion for the game, but also unrivaled expertise to help us to continue to grow. We’re especially excited about their plans to bring pickleball to underserved communities — something they have done with basketball for years.”

Steve Kuhn, MLP CEO and founder

Pickleball ownership and other sports

Durant, known his out-of-this-world basketball skills, is no stranger to investing in sports. Through his investment firm 35V, Durant also owns stakes in NY Gotham FC, Philadelphia Union, and Premier Lacrosse League.

In the past Durant has produced documentaries on basketball, invested in sports brands, and has been actively involved with companies like Foot Locker and Nike.

Not the only basketball player involved with pickleball

Durant is not the only basketball star involved in Major League Pickleball. His fellow NBA stars Lebron James and Draymond Green are also MLP owners. Perhaps there’s a little bit of on-the-court, off-the-court rivalry!

Learn more about Lebron and other celebrities who own pickleball teams in 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Pickleball.

The fact that Durant, Draymond, and Lebron are all involved in MLP is interesting. Many basketball fans know that Durant and Draymond have a long history. The two players started as rivals. Later they became teammates. (Draymond supposedly recruited Durant to the Warriors with a phone call after losing the 2016 NBA finals to Lebron’s Cavaliers). Then in 2019 they became rivals again when Durant somewhat unexpected left the team. Check out the Athletic’s Durant Timeline if you want to learn more about Durant’s long, interesting career arc.

Comment below and let us know which sport star you think will join the pickleball fun. Or who may become the next MLP owner. We can’t wait to see! Maybe we can get see who’s the best cross-sport king or queen with some fun celebrity matches.

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