Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green and LeBron James may be rivals on the basketball court, but now they’re partners on a different one.
The competitors and longtime friends have jumped into one of America’s fastest-growing sports, joining together to purchase an expansion franchise in Major League Pickleball. The league announced the new partnership this week, which also includes one of James’s former Cleveland Cavaliers teammates as an investor.
Warriors Big Man Invests in New Sport
The new partnership was revealed in a statement by Major League Pickleball, which noted that it was pursuing an “aggressive growth plan to be the premier pickleball professional league in America.” James and business partner Maverick Carter announced they were buying a team, with Green and Kevin Love also coming on as investors.
The ownership group also includes the investment firm SC Holdings, whose managing partner Jason Stein took note of the fast growth of pickleball. The league debuted in 2021 with eight teams, expanding to 12 teams in 2022 and 16 in 2023.
“People are obsessed with the game, as both participants and fans, and we’re excited to use our collective experience and expertise across sports, media, and entertainment to reach new participants and expand the community,” Stein said. “We’re thrilled to become partners of Major League Pickleball – which as a league and sport is just getting started.”
The league has brought on a number of other famous owners, including former New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, tennis star James Blake and Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry. The league mentioned that more growth will be coming as new teams are added and new owners brought in.
Though Green and the Warriors battled with James and his Cavaliers four times in the NBA Finals, the two grew very close off the court. In August, the two were seen partying together in Toronto. Green has offered public praise of James and made appearances on media from James’ production companies.
Green Expands Business Dealings
The investment could be part of a long-term business strategy from Green, who said he wants to become a billionaire before the age of 40.
“I want to be a billionaire. I want to be a multi-billionaire,” Green said in 2017 in an appearance on Uninterrupted, a show from James’s digital media company, via CNBC. “I don’t have an exact number, but I just want to be a billionaire first and that’s my goal. I want to do that by the time I’m 40. Tough task for sure, but I think I can reach it.”
Green added that he wasn’t always so savvy with his money, especially when he first got into the NBA, but he soon established some bigger financial goals.
“My first year, I didn’t hire a financial advisor. I said I’m going to do this on my own. I want to learn how to pay bills. I want to learn how money works and if I screw it up, I screw it up,” says Green. “I can’t live the rest of my life off this 400 grand I’m going to take home anyway, but I can teach myself about money.”