Lebron James buys into Major League Pickleball team
Draymond Green, Kevin Love, and LeBron James, all
NBA players, have purchased into a Major League Pickleball club, the announced Wednesday.
James’ business partner Maverick Carter, their family office LRMR Ventures and the investment firm SC Holdings were there to support them.
” The league’s press release stated that the new ownership group “brings unparalleled experience and impact across media, sports, entertainment and branding.” MLP hopes to expand the community beyond its current members into more diverse communities worldwide with this group. “
The team the groups purchased wasn’t announced, but the MLP said the league is expanding from 12 to 16 teams.
“Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the country, building communities in cities and towns all over the world,” MLP Founder Steve Kuhn said in the announcement. “This investment and the platform that this group provides will significantly help us with our goal to reach 40 million pickleball players by 2030. “
The league plans to have its players compete at six tournaments across the nation for more than $2,000,000 next year, according to the MLP.
Pickleball has become the fastest growing sport in the U.S., with 4.8 million players across the country in 2021 — a 15% increase from 2020 — according to the 2022 Sports & Fitness Industry Association Single Sport Report on Pickleball. The majority of participants identify themselves as “casual” pickleball players.
The growth rate of Americans who have picked up the sport is fastest amongst women and people under 24, the report said.
Pickleball, which was invented in Washington state in 1965, combines elements of tennis, ping pong and badminton. Players use paddles to hit the plastic wiffle ball back-and-forth over a net. In the United States and Canada, courts are available in recreation centers, parks and schools, as well as at schools.
This MLP is not the first time that high-profile athletes have expressed an interest. In July, former star NFL quarterback Drew Brees became the majority owner of the Austin, Texas Mad Drops. Jim Buss, coowner of the Los Angeles Lakers is a minority owner.
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I’m a journalist who specializes in investigative reporting and writing. I have written for the New York Times and other publications.