The interest in pickleball has increased dramatically over the last few years, and the development of a professional league attracted some of the biggest names in sports.
Major League Pickleball is going from 12 teams to 16 teams starting in the 2023 season. The expanded list of athlete-investors allows the league to expand its doubles events from three to six and increase winnings to more than $2 million.
Pickleball is the fastest growing participation sport in America, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association.
Read below for some superstar athletes from across all sports who have invested in the game
Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant is one of the most recent Major League Pickleball investors. He and business partner Rich Kleiman purchased an expansion team on Oct. 20, 2022. The group will have a team in 2023.
Tom Brady & Kim Clijsters
Seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady joined with tennis legend Kim Clijsters to purchase a team on Oct. 12, 2022.
“Of course, I’m excited at the investment opportunity,” Clijsters said in a news release. “But what excites me the most about becoming an MLP owner is that I get to help shape the future of pickleball, a sport I have come to love, with great people – who also happen to be some of my best friends. I’m thrilled to help showcase professional pickleball and make an impact on the sport through my experience gained in the top levels of professional tennis.”
Brady mentioned Rob Gronkowski would make the perfect pickleball teammate.
LeBron James, Draymond Green & Kevin Love
NBA superstars LeBron James, Draymond Green and Kevin Love joined an investment group on Sept. 28, 2022, to purchase an expansion team for the 2023 season.
Future Hall of Famer Drew Brees retired from football after the 2020 season and bought a pickleball team on July 21, 2022, ahead of the 2022 season.
American tennis great James Blake helped launch Major League Pickleball in October 2021. His team was one of the first to enter the league last year.