Such things are the norm now in professional sports. There is a pro sports ownership class that includes players, former players, coaches and owners who hold stakes together in sometimes odd — and awkward — ways. Steve Nash (and Wayne Gretzky) are both minority owners in Tsai’s Desert Dogs pro lacrosse team. Tsai and Nash had a “mutual” parting of ways last week. Durant is also the newest owner of pro pickleball team. Sometimes, the investment is about being a fan of a sport or a team. Sometimes, it’s an investment.
So, on Sunday, it shouldn’t be a surprise that ESPN is reporting that KD just might want to join an investment group aiming to take over his favorite NFL team growing up, the Washington Commanders (né Washington Redskins, nee Washington Football Club.)
As ESPN’s Nick Friedell reported, the Commanders announced earlier this week that Snyder and his wife, Tanya (a team co-owner), have hired Bank of America Securities “to explore potential transactions involving the team.”
“In a perfect world, I would be a part of it,” Durant told ESPN. “I would love to do it. I would love to give a little bit of my money to be a part of the Commanders, but we’ll see. Hopefully it’s somebody nice. I heard [Amazon CEO and Washington Post owner Jeff] Bezos and Jay-Z, but you never know.”
The perfect bid would indeed include KD, a Prince George’s County, Maryland, native. Although KD limited his comment to “ya never know,” his general comments made it seem like he’s kicked some tires.
“Our market is incredible,” Durant said. “There’s a lot of support in D.C., a lot of money in D.C. to be made. I feel like we drafted well the last couple years. We got some foundation pieces that can help you win football games moving forward. So yeah, I think it’s an attractive destination. Regardless of what’s going on, they pretty much built that team up, built that stadium, built the brand up pretty nicely.
“I know we’ve had some losing seasons, but it’s starting to come around for us. I’m excited as a fan. I’m excited about the sale. I’m excited to see who they bring in and who they sell the team to and see how we move forward with it.”
In addition to the 5% interest his Thirty Five Ventures has in the Philadelphia MLS team (with an option to buy another 5%) and the new investment in the pickleball league, KD’s Thirty Five Ventures has invested in NY/NJ Gotham FC of the National Women’s Soccer League. Last year, he agreed to participate in the $200 million renovation of the downtown Baltimore arena that once hosted the Baltimore Bullets. It got a sponsorship deal two weeks ago and is now the CFG Bank Arena. It reopens in February.
Durant and his partner Rich Kleiman have also hinted at owning an NBA franchise once his playing days are over. He knows getting into the Commanders ownership group might seem a little ambitious, noting he isn’t in the same wealth class as the other pretenders.
“Of course,” he said with a smile when asked whether he’d like to be part of an ownership group. “I don’t have a lot of money, though. I don’t have that much money to say, ‘Look, man, let me get a piece of the team.’ So I’m sure it would have to work out some way, somehow. I would love to, obviously, but to be honest, I doubt that it’ll happen. It’s a five-, six-billion-dollar team.”
Still, as he said ya never know.
“I would probably stay more of a fan than try to get involved with the team,” Durant told ESPN. “And it would be something nice for my family, and just to have in our family, that would be incredible to be a part of that group. Just get a little closer to the team if I were to be able to be in that position. Try to learn the business, try to learn from an ownership’s perspective and a front-office perspective, coach’s perspective, try to get closer to players.”
- Kevin Durant wants to join Commanders’ new ownership group - Nick Friedell - ESPN
- Nets’ Kevin Durant says he’d like to join potential new Commanders ownership group - The Athletic