Esports is one of the most booming sectors in the world. It can be regional or international video gaming events in which participants of various expertise compete against each other for massive amounts of prize money. The entire industry is valued at around $1.4 billion. The NBA’s 2k game, which releases a new edition every year, is one of the best games out there as well.
With the industry still on an upward trajectory, a lot of NBA superstars have invested in it. Let’s take a look at some of the most prominent names in basketball who have invested in the industry.
#5 – Kevin Durant
Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant is one of the biggest names in basketball right now. He is also one of the most active athletes on social media. Durant’s Twitter space is very popular. It is also criticized in NBA circles.
Ever since Durant joined the Golden State Warriors in 2016, the former league MVP has been an active investor in Silicon Valley start-ups. Durant and his business partner Rich Kleiman founded the Durant Company and have invested a lot in the technical industry.
In February 2018, Durant joined the sector as he joined a group that invested $38 million in Vision Esports, whic is an investment fund and management company co-founded by former NBA player and actor Rick Fox, MGM Resorts executive Chris Nordling, and the NHL’s San Jose Sharks minority owner Stratton Sclavos.
#4 – Magic Johnson
Earvin “Magic” Johnson was one of the league’s earliest superstars. He played a huge role in popularizing the NBA. After Johnson bowed out of basketball, he went on to become one of the best athlete-turned-business moguls in the world.
Johnson invested into the esports sector way before anyone else did. He was part of that initial aXiomatic Gaming group investment into Team Liquid. Johnson has also invested in SimWim sports, a digital sports league of teams with sports stars and celebrity owners. He has also purchased football and basketball franchises in SimWin. Johnson is investing in a mashup blend of gaming, sports, web3, and metaverse.
#3 – Shaquille O’Neal
Shaquille O’Neal is one of the wealthiest former athletes in the world. Ever since he came into the league, the Big Diesel has been an active investor across various sectors.
O’Neal has invested in NRG esports with Alex Rodriguez and MLB star Jimmy Rollins. NRG esports competes in League of Legends competitions and amasses around 400 million viewers every year. NRG esports are looking to assert themselves into the mainstream sporting world.
O’Neal said the following about investing in esports:
“So then, when I get there, it feels like a basketball game. It’s 30,000 little kids screaming. And then watching these two kids play on screen, I asked myself, like, what is this? And [my kids] said, ‘This is the future, Dad. Esports.’”
#2 – Stephen Curry
Stephen Curry is one of the best players in the game right now. The Golden State Warriors legend has been an active investor during his stay in the Bay Area. However, it was his teammate and 2016 NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala who convinced him to invest in the esports sector.
In July 2018, Curry and Igoudala were part of the group that invested $37 million in the esports organization TSM. TSM went on to sign a huge sponsorship deal with cryptocurrency exchange FTX. The deal would see the team be paid $210 million over the course of ten years. The deal was the biggest of its kind in the industry.
#1 – Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan is arguably the greatest basketball player the world has ever seen. Moreover, with his apparel brand ‘Jordan’ continuing to soar, even decades after his retirement, it is to no one’s surprise that Jordan is a billionaire. Jordan is also the majority owner of the NBA franchise, the Charlotte Hornets.
Over the years, Jordan has continued to expand his investment portfolio. The six-time NBA champion entered the esports sector in 2018. Jordan became an investor in Team Liquid in late 2018 through an investment startup called aXiomatic Gaming, which staked $26 million in the venture. Jordan’s Olympic teammate Magic Johnson invested in the startup alongside him.