NBA star Kevin Durant has purchased a stake in the Philadelphia Union, the club announced on Monday.
The Brooklyn Nets forward has acquired a five percent ownership stake in the club, with the option to purchase an additional five percent stake in the near future.
Durant, a 10-time NBA All-Star, is a two-time NBA champion as a member of the Golden State Warriors while also earning the 2014 NBA MVP award and two Olympic gold medals.
With Durant’s deal, he becomes the second NBA All-Star to join an MLS ownership group, following Houston Rockets guard and Houston Dynamo owner James Harden, while also joining NFL star Russell Wilson, who owns a piece of the Seattle Sounders.
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has also made soccer part of his non-basketball business, having bought a stake in Liverpool in 2011.
As part of the deal, Durant and his partner, sports business executive Rich Kleiman, will use their Thirty Five Ventures project to help grow the Union brand while the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation (KDCF) will help expand the club’s community outreach.
According to ESPN, the Union are valued at over $325 million, which would put the valuation of Durant’s stake at a minimum of $16.25 million
“I’m excited to partner with the Philadelphia Union for years to come. My team and I connected instantly with the Union coaching staff and leadership, as well as the team’s story,” said Durant.
“Off the pitch, I’m looking forward to working in the Chester and Philadelphia communities and making an impact in the same way that the KDCF has been able to in my hometown of Prince George’s County.”
The Union are riding high after a successful 2019 campaign, with the club’s heavy focus on youth paying off with a playoff berth and the team’s first postseason victory.
“The partnership between Kevin and the Philadelphia Union is based on a set of shared values and philosophies,” said Union owner Jay Sugarman.
“We want to be known as an innovator in our league and a team that is never satisfied with the status quo. Kevin brings us unique perspectives as a person, as a champion, and as a sports icon.
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“His work with the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation has shown he has a community-first mindset that resonates with our club’s DNA. Combined with his competitive drive and forward-thinking mentality, we believe Kevin adds a key piece in reaching our ambitions for the club.”
The Union are set to return, alongside the rest of league’s’ 26 teams, at the upcoming MLS is Back tournament in Orlando, which begins on July 8.
Drawn into Group A, the Union will compete with Orlando City, Inter Miami, New York City FC and the Chicago Fire.