From LeBron James to Candace Parker, several active athletes have bought into the professional sports ecosystem. Boardroom breaks down some of the biggest names who have a seat in the owners’ suite.
The athlete-to-front office pipeline is not in any way a new phenomenon. For years, a number of the biggest names in sports have entered into professional sports ownership as they transition into the next phase of their life post-retirement.
But they are only a few big names across all the major leagues who couldn’t entirely quit the competition. However, current athletes have been getting a head start in recent years.
While various league rules prohibit entry into the owners’ suite before retirement, several athletes have looked more broadly to get into the game. Let’s take a look at some current all-star athletes who have claimed their seats at the professional sports ownership table with minority team investments.
*This is a non-exhaustive list of athlete owners
Two-time NFL MVP Mahomes has already expressed his hopes of owning an NFL team when he steps off the gridiron for the final time. However, he’s developing his ownership chops early with a wide-ranging portfolio.
- Kansas City Royals (MLB)
- Kansas City Current (NWSL)
- Miami Pickleball Club (MLP)
- Sporting Kansas City (MLS)
- Alpine Racing Team (F1)
Naomi Osaka is a champion for athletes. The Evolve co-founder has been a fierce advocate for mental health, and her agency seeks to foster its clients across all aspects of their lives, including their business. The Grand Slam champ may have taken some time off the court to welcome her first child in 2023, but Osaka stayed busy with her sports investments.
- Miami Pickleball Club (MLP)
- North Carolina Courage (NWSL)
Kevin Durant and Rich Kleiman have made no secret about their hopes to one day be NBA co-owners. While KD has discussed the prospect of returning the NBA to Seattle, he’s open to other options. In the meantime, he’s stacking his investments across the sporting world.
- Brooklyn Aces (MLP)
- NY/NJ Gotham FC (NWSL)
- Philadelphia Union (MLS)
King James is no stranger to business off of the court. However, in recent years, he’s expanded his portfolio to include far-reaching ownership stakes, largely thanks to his relationship with Fenway Sports Group.
- Boston Red Sox (MLB)
- Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL)
- Liverpool FC (Premier League)
- RFK Racing
Myles Garrett has had a heck of a year, both on and off the football field. In addition to becoming an equity partner in the Mark Wahlberg-backed brand MUNICIPAL, Garrett also deepened his roots in Cleveland with his newest business venture with the Cleveland Cavaliers. In addition to his minority stake in the team, Garrett also serves as a brand ambassador for the franchise.
- Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA)
- Texas Ranchers (MLP)
Several seasons may have passed since James Harden was the heart of the Houston Rockets, but the current Clipper maintains a connection to the city he once loved.
- Houston Dash (NWSL)
- Houston Dynamo FC (MLS)
Sir Lewis knows certainly how to make a splash. The highly decorated Mercedes driver is a key component of Formula 1‘s booming global success in recent years. While he’s broken many barriers in the past, Hamilton most recently made headlines due to his participation in the record-setting Denver Broncos’ $4.65 million sale in 2022.
- Denver Broncos (NFL)
Candace Parker‘s injury may have kept her off the court for the Las Vegas Aces‘ WNBA title, but her impact on the team should not be overlooked. Parker has already established herself as a key contributor to the NBA on TNT team as an analyst, so it only makes sense that she’s taking her athletic genius to the ownership office. Parker signed on with the star-studded Angel City FC team, joining fellow GOATS Serena Williams, Abby Wambach, and so many more.
- Angel City FC (NWSL)
- Milwaukee Bucks (NBA)
- Seattle Sounders (MLS)
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