The Nets worked out at Overtime Elite Arena in Atlanta last week, an impressive place for impressive young ballers who want a paying option while still high school age. The visit also gave Kevin Durant a chance to visit one of his most tangible investments.
As Brian Lewis wrote, Durant — along with the likes of Drake and Amazon owner Jeff Bezos — have invested heavily in Overtime Elite, the startup league for high school sports that plays its games at the Atlanta facility where the Nets practiced. Durant liked what he saw in the glistening facility but also the idea behind the league: an opportunity for young players between the ages of 16 and 20 to be seen ... and be paid while still going to school.
“Yeah it’s new day, baby. There’s a lot of money put in put it in. It’s incredible,” Durant told The Post. “[This didn’t exist] when I was coming out 15, 16 years ago. So it’s a fairly new idea. For you to see it come to fruition so fast, man its incredible.“
Forbes estimated back in August that Overtime has raised $250 million to date and claims a large number of active NBA players among its investors, including Durant, Carmelo Anthony, and Trae Young. The league in effect competes for talent with the NCAA and the G League, the NBA’s development league. They are not skimping on infrastructure.
And it’s starting to pay dividends, at least for the league’s two best players, twin brothers Amen and Ausar Thompson, 6’7” forwards out of Fort Lauderdale who were the first big names to join up. Amen is currently slotted at No. 3 in most mock drafts, just behind Victor Wembanyana of France and Scoot Henderson of G League Ignite. Ausar is likely to go top 10 as well, which would make the Thompson twins the highest drafted twins ever and make the 2023 NBA Draft the first where the top three players didn’t attend NCAA Division 1 schools.
“Yeah, it’s a very proud moment to walk in here and see all this, because you see where the game is going now,” KD told Lewis. “There’s just so many different avenues for these kids to pursue their dream. This [stuff] is incredible. Coming out of high school you’ve got the option to come here and work on your game every day, still go to school if you want, but make some money. It’s a perfect opportunity.”
The best players earn up to $100,000.
As Lewis wrote, Durant was an early investor in Overtime, the company that initially made its reputation posting highlight reels of high school players.
Durant helped convince dozens of other NBA players to join him in investing. Now, those with even deeper pockets are getting involved, the likes of Bezos, one of the world’s richest men, and Drake, who participated in an $80 million round of financing.
The Nets superstar and business partner have invested in dozens of companies through his Thirty-Five Ventures a number of them sports-related. Beyond Overtime Elite, there are sports news outlets like Boardroom and Just Women’s Sports, pro teams like the Philadelphia Union of the MSL and the renovated CFG Arena in downtown Baltimore which reopens next month.
No word on how much KD and Kleiman have invested in any of the properties.