NBA stars steadily continue joining MLS ownership in numbers. Now Kevin Durant proposes joining Philadelphia Union ownership.
Brooklyn Nets star forward Kevin Durant plans to join Philadelphia Union ownership. He will add to the growing number of NBA individuals who are involved with MLS:
- Houston Rockets starting guard James Harden joined the Dynamo ownership in July
- Retired NBA MVP Steve Nash was a part-owner of Vancouver Whitecaps before the club joined MLS
- Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James became a part-owner of Liverpool in 2011
- Retired superstar guard Magic Johnson is a founding owner of Los Angeles FC
MLS has always focused on high-profile ownership. That’s included a steady stream of celebrity owners including television personality Drew Carey, who is the chairman of Seattle Sounders, and movie star Matthew McConaughey, who has emerged as a highly visible part-owner of MLS expansion team Austin FC.
No celebrity has worked harder to get into MLS ownership than Kevin Durant. The Philadelphia Union wasn’t his first ownership discussion.
Durant twice negotiated offers to buy into D.C. United. Durant’s interest swelled because they are his hometown team, — the hometown aspect is strong. James Harden said buying into the ownership of both Houston Dynamo and the affiliated Dash has deepened his commitment to the city that increased his stardom — but on each occasion, the talks stalled. So he broadened his interest to other MLS teams and settled on Philadelphia.
MLS ownership also has paid off financially for investors. LeBron James’ original stake in Liverpool, 2%, has grown nearly five times in the past seven years, from $6.5 million to $32 million.
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Durant represented his investment company, Thirty Five Ventures, and met directly with Union head coach Jim Curtin. A Philadelphia Union spokesman only confirmed the meeting was about Union ownership and did not speculate on the outcome.
Thirty Five Ventures has invested in a broad variety of businesses in sports, culture and technology. The company also manages the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation, focused on enriching lives of at-risk youth from low-income backgrounds. Interested parties can donate to the charity’s efforts, which include efforts in educational, athletic and social programs.
No one has a clue why Durant’s previous efforts failed to gain a stake in D.C. United. The progress appears quieter, and more positive in joining the ownership of the Union.
Once that stake is made official, Durant won’t stoop to passing by D.C. United and suggesting that they eat their hearts out. But rest assured, he won’t have to do so.