Major League Pickleball Has a Familiar New Team Owner

LeBron buys in to the growing pro sport
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 29, 2022 11:18 AM CDT
LeBron Just Bought a Pro Pickleball Team
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James is making a commitment to pickleball.   (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)

The first thing to know about this story is that Major League Pickleball exists. The second is that LeBron James just bought a team. More specifically, the basketball star's LRMR Ventures bought a team, in partnership with other NBA stars including Draymond Green and Kevin Love, reports Yahoo Sports. The terms weren't disclosed. MLP currently has 12 four-person teams but plans to expand to 16 next year, per NPR. The teams don't currently represent geographic locations, but that could change perhaps as early as 2023 as the league grows, notes CNBC.

"We had this immediate connection over their passion for playing pickleball, their passion for growing pro pickleball grassroots," says MLP's Anne Worcester of the James-led group. "They bring so much experience across sports marketing, media, branding." For the record, this year's MLP season culminates in a tournament Oct. 14-16 in Columbus, Ohio, with a purse of $319,000. The sport is typically described as a combination of tennis, badminton, and even pingpong. (An estimated 5 million people in the US play pickleball, which is generally regarded as the fastest-growing sport in America.)

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