Forget the NBA: LeBron James, Kevin Love and Draymond Green Now Own Pickleball Teams

LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Draymond Green
LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Draymond Green


The NBA season is about the begin, but at least for a moment, LeBron James is sinking his teeth into a new sport.

On Wednesday, Major League Pickleball announced that James, along with NBA stars Draymond Green and Kevin Love, will become owners in the league that plans to increase its size from 12 teams to 16. Joining the trio is also James' business partner, Maverick Carter.

"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 a statement. "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 did not reveal the names of the NBA stars' teams or where they will be located.

The players' investment is another sign of the soaring popularity of pickleball, though many on social media were asking: "What is pickleball?" after the announcement.

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The rising sport was first started back in 1965 by a group of three dads, and can be described as a combination of tennis, ping pong, and badminton, per Play Pickleball.

Players use what look like large, ping pong-like paddles, and matches are played on a badminton-sized court with a net slightly shorter than a tennis net. The ball used is a more durable version of a wiffleball, the outlet said.

"When I started playing pickleball, I immediately connected with the sport's community and its capacity to be both fun and competitive," Carter told CNBC after the group's investment announcement. "To see the sport growing in communities all over is really exciting, and we're looking forward to bringing our expertise together to try and build a championship team."

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According to MLP, other big names have already invested in the organization, such as former New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk.

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Per SB Nation, there is at least one other pickleball league outside of MLP — the Professional Pickleball Association (PPA), which began a rivalry with MLP when they banned their own players from competing in the organization.