Kevin Durant Enters Esports Industry

Kevin Durant is one of the most polarizing players in the NBA. On the court, he is, without a doubt, one of the best players in the NBA. At 32 years old, he is the 28th ranked all-time NBA scorer, and his average of 27.04 points is tied with LeBron James, who currently ranks 4th all time. Basketball fans know well about Durants on-court feats, but what most are unaware of is his off-the-court success which is arguably just as impressive.

Kevin Durant is part of a new generation of athletes that are using their brand and unprecedented wealth to build generational money outside of just sports. The explosion of sports contracts in the last twenty years is a big reason players are now able to venture into investment companies. In the past, it was common to see professional athletes go broke within a few years of retiring from their respective sports.

Focus from the individual leagues to educate players on personal finance has slowed this, but it is still up to the athlete at the end of the day on how they will spend their money.

For KD, along with his agent and business partner Rich Kleiman, their vision has been to let Durant’s money work for him as opposed to the other way around. The two are the founders of Thirty5 ventures, an investment firm that serves as an umbrella for all business interests across sports, tech, culture, and media.

The companies that Thirty5 currently holds a stake in include; Postmates- a food delivery service, Robinhood- a stock trading platform, Acron- a microlender, Whoop- a wearable fitness tracker, and JetSmarter- a mobile marketplace for chartering private jets. In ’19 alone, Durant earned $35 million solely from his off-court investments. Owning one of the most wide-ranging investment portfolios in the NBA.

Thirty-5 Ventures is routinely in the lead of finding start-ups that turn into very successful companies. Their latest investment comes from the Esports and gaming industry. In the last year, Esports and the video game industry has exploded thanks to stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus. In 2020 the video game industry brought in $150 billion dollars.

Experts predict the trend to continue and rise up to $179 billion by year’s end, according to an article by MarketWatch that would be more than the global film and North American sports industries combined.

On Monday, New York based Esports organization Andbox announced that they were partnering with Thirty5 ventures. Durant and business partner Rich Kleiman were named as investors and creative partners. An avid player of Call of Duty and NBA 2K, the 32-year-old Durant will help Andbox— which owns and operates the Call of Duty League’s New York Subliners, the Overwatch League’s NYXL, and the Andbox Valorant team—raise brand awareness, collaborate with gamers through online tournaments and live events, as well as curate apparel.

Andbox sees this as an opportunity to showcase its esports organization to a much broader audience of people who love gaming as much as Durant does but don’t necessarily follow esports. That will involve everything from content series and merchandise releases to live online events and tournaments until it’s safe to have in-person events.

“The passion that New York sports fans have has really hit home with me,” said Durant. “Andbox is bringing that same energy to esports here, and that’s something Thirty Five Ventures is very excited to be a part of.”

This is not Thirty5 ventures’ first Esport investment; in 2018, KD joined Odell Beckham Jr. and the St. Louis Cardinals in buying into Vision Esports, an esports investment fund.

Stay tuned for more esports news 0ver at esportsallstar.com.

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