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Kevin Durant & Rich Kleiman’s 35V Purchases Major League Pickleball Team

The Boardroom and 35V co-founders are the latest to invest in the fast-growing sport in America — one that boasts nearly five million players nationwide.

Kevin Durant and Rich Kleiman’s 35V announced the purchase of a Major League Pickleball expansion team on Thursday. The news comes on the heels of the conclusion of the 2022 MLP season, which wrapped up this past weekend.

Looking ahead to the league’s 2023 campaign, Durant and Kleiman plan on leveraging their expertise and overall presence across sports, entertainment, and media to further the growth of MLP and the sport of pickleball at large.

“35V is committed to investing in the future of sports and emerging opportunities, and Major League Pickleball is a league we are incredibly excited about,” Kleiman said. “We can’t wait to build this team from the ground up as well as work to elevate the sport and the league to unprecedented heights. As an avid pickleball player and fan, the interest in the sport was a natural fit.”

It’s a win-win for both sides. While Boardroom sources can confirm that both Durant and Kleiman are indeed huge pickleball fans, it’s also their successful investment portfolio in emerging teams and leagues across a variety of sports that stands out — besides their actual love for the game.

“[Pickleball] was a small passion that’s just gonna keep building… We’re gonna be operating this ourselves, being tasked with building this brand from the ground up. It should be a fun project,” Durant said on the occasion.

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And this isn’t just a passive investment. Durant and Kleiman plan on being active owners who go beyond just the team — with plans to help with the league’s growth, player relations and marketing, sponsorships, and merchandise.

“Kevin Durant, Rich Kleiman, and 35V are going to be game-changing partners for Major League Pickleball,” said MLP Founder and CEO Steve Kuhn. “They not only bring passion for the game, but also unrivaled expertise to help us to continue to grow. We’re especially excited about their plans to bring pickleball to underserved communities – something they have done with basketball for years,” Kuhn added.

Some of those plans also entail how Boardroom will create a market opportunity for the team and league as a whole. Additionally, the partnership includes initiatives to share the game with the community via 35V’s “Build it and They Will Ball” program focused on refurbishing basketball courts around the world.

As pickleball continues to grow rapidly as a sport, Durant and Kleiman’s 35V joins a prominent list of owners within Major League Pickleball that includes Tom Brady, LeBron James, Drew Brees, Draymond Green, and many more.

The league recently announced intentions to expand from 12 to 16 teams, double events from three to six, and increase the player prize money pool to upwards of $2 million. Pickleball currently boasts approximately 4.8 million players nationwide; MLP’s mission is to grow that number to 40 million by 2030.

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About The Author
Anthony Puccio
Anthony Puccio
Anthony Puccio is a Staff Writer at Boardroom. Puccio has 10 years of experience in journalism and content creation, previously working for SB Nation, The Associated Press, New York Daily News, SNY, and Front Office Sports. In 2016, he received New York University's CCTOP scholarship and earned a bachelor's degree in Communications from St. John's University. He can be spotted a mile away thanks to his plaid suits and thick New York accent. Don't believe us? Check his Twitter @APooch.