NBA’s LeBron James, Draymond Green and Kevin Love are buying a pro pickleball team
(NEXSTAR) – Between them, Lebron James, Draymond Green, and Kevin Love have nine NBA championships, over 43 years in the league, and a net worth of more than $1 billion. Now, they’ll be able to add a new venture to their resumes: owners of a Major League Pickleball team.
Yes, pickleball. It’s one of the fastest-growing rec sports in the country, with courts and rivalries appearing from California to New York and everywhere in between. Some people are taking the sport so seriously they’ve been arrested over it.
If you aren’t familiar with the phenomenon, pickleball’s origins date back to the 1960s in the state of Washington, Chuck Menke, the chief marketing officer for USA Pickleball told Nexstar’s KSWB. Pickleball is similar to tennis, but plays on a smaller court with a ball similar to a wiffle ball and paddles slightly larger than those used in ping pong.
You won’t just find a pickleball court at a recreation area or gym near you. There are professional players competing in the sport, including at the upcoming USA Pickleball National Championships in November, which will be held near Palm Springs, California.
There are currently 12 teams within Major League Pickleball, but the league says it will soon expand to 16 teams. Next year, players will be able to compete in six tournaments throughout the U.S. with the chance to take home more than $2 million.
On Wednesday, MLP announced a new ownership group that will join already-existing team owners, which include former New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry.
In addition to James, Green and Love, members from companies founded by James comprise the new ownership group.
MLP founder Steven Kuhn said in a press release Thursday that the group “will significantly help us with our goal to reach 40 million pickleball players by 2030.”
Additional pickleball team owners are expected to be announced in the coming weeks, according to MLP.
Last year, James gained an ownership stake in the Boston Red Sox, Liverpool Football Club, Roush Fenway Racing, and a regional sports network when he became a partner with Fenway Sports Group, ESPN reports. He has also expressed interest in owning an NBA team.