LeBron James’ ever-growing investment portfolio added a new professional sports team this week.
James, along with fellow NBA stars Draymond Green and Kevin Love, joined LRMR Ventures in buying a Major League Pickleball team, the league announced Wednesday. Other members of the ownership group include Maverick Carter, the investment firm SC Holdings, Relevent Sports Group co-owner and CEO Daniel Sillman and SpringHill Company CMO Paul Rivera.
The team has not been announced and the terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but the MLP recently expanded from 12 teams to 16.
Pickleball has become one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States. Almost 5 million people played the sport in 2022 — 57 years after its invention in 1965 in Seattle, Washington — according to a 2022 study. The report also found that the sport has grown 11.5 percent over the past five years.
For the uninitiated, pickleball effectively combines tennis, pingpong and badminton where players volley a plastic whiffle ball over a net with paddles. The sport is incredibly inclusive as well — 50 percent of players are between the ages of 6-34, 20 percent are between the ages of 35-54 and 29.6 percent are at least 55 years old, according to USA Pickleball.
Major League Pickleball launched in Dripping Springs, Texas in 2021. Other pickleball club owners include former NFL quarterback Drew Brees, Milwaukee Bucks owner Marc Lasry and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk.
James has equity in other professional leagues as well. When James invested in Fenway Sports Group in 2021, he became a minority owner of the Boston Red Sox, Liverpool Football Club, RFK Racing and the Pittsburgh Penguins. James’ ultimate goal, though, is to own an NBA team after his playing days are over.
James also became the first active NBA player to join the billionaire club this summer.