The new program will use gaming and content creation to give pro athletes like JR Smith and Leonard Fournette innovative opportunities to grow their brands further.
Complexity Gaming, a GameSquare Esports subsidiary, is launching Complexity Stars, an all-new gaming division that will bring professional athletes, pop culture and entertainment figures, and gaming under one umbrella to provide new ways for stars to enhance their profiles through content creation, brand activations, and tournament competition.
Athletes participating in the project include retired NBA champion guard JR Smith, Dallas Wings shooting guard Allisha Gray, MMA fighters Max Holloway, Sean O’Malley, and Megan Anderson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette, Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley, and Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Edwin Ríos.
“We’re not just taking athletes or celebrities and trying to fit them into the gaming space,” Justin Kenna, CEO of GameSquare Esports, said in an interview. Kenna previously worked for esports giants FaZe Clan as the company’s Chief Financial Officer and Chief Investment Officer. “The eight athletes that we are launching with are all real gamers and are authentic to the space. Any athletes that we look to add going forward will be exactly that as well.”
Kenna said most of the athletes that Complexity Stars is opening up with have already had preexisting relationships with Complexity Gaming. Paradigm Sports, the agency that represents Megan Anderson, joined GameSquare Esports’ advisory board earlier this year. GameSquare also announced a pact with Roc Nation Sports in 2021; both Leonard Fournette and Ronnie Stanley are with Roc Nation.
As things stand, Kenna is focused on making sure the Complexity Stars ship can go full sail before bringing on more athletes.
“I’m much more interested in proving the model and showing real value to the athletes before we go out and sign too many more,” he said. “[But] there is absolutely an opportunity to increase upon the initial eight that we are announcing with.”
One of the athletes most looking forward to work Complexity Stars is JR Smith, who retired from basketball in 2020 and is currently enrolled at North Carolina A&T, an HBCU in Greensboro. There, the former Sixth Man of the Year and two-time NBA champ is not just taking classes, but is a member of the Aggies’ golf team.
“One of my goals is to grow the gaming space in the Black community and minority community. We play games all our lives and I want to make sure our talent is seen,” said Smith in an interview. “If you give kids iPads and technology like that, before you know it, they’re learning and finding careers within architecture, coding, and computer science. The next generation is so important, and I want to give the youth a better lane to travel through.”
Smith plays FIFA, NBA 2K, and Call of Duty.
As GameSquare Head of Talent and Special Projects Duane “Zeno” Jackson concluded in an official statement:
“Complexity Stars is an incredible gaming division where sports, entertainment, and gaming come together. There are amazing opportunities to collaborate with global talent through compelling content and tournaments that appeal to brands seeking to connect with the large, affluent, and growing gaming audience.”