Over the last year and a half, sources say Durant and his business partner Rich Kleiman have taken numerous meetings with existing owners and tech CEOs to learn the lay of the land.
The two have made a concerted effort of strategically positioning themselves in front of some of the most influential and innovative business figures in the Bay Area. They were guest speakers at the annual TechCrunch Disrupt, a massive startup conference, that took place in San Francisco last fall.
Durant has serious intentions of purchasing an NBA team after his playing career, league sources told ESPN. One source, who requested anonymity, says “this is a genuine goal of his after he retires, to add another African-American in the position of majority ownership.”
Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James has also stated numerous times that he desires to own an NBA franchise at the conclusion of his NBA career. It’s fitting that these two megastars play against each other on Martin Luther King Day.
In an interview with ESPN last week, Durant said ownership and equity are important, but he wants more African-American players in NBA personnel roles, too.
“MJ was the first big Nike athlete, the biggest star of his time, but if you don’t have the trajectory, that path, that journey, it’s going to be hard to do what he did,” Durant said. “But you can still affect the NBA and the game of basketball in a different way. You don’t have to be an owner. I think it should be more guys in the positions of power like general managers and scouts and coaches. Anything that involves the day-to-day operations of these franchises. I think more players and more experienced players should be in those positions.”
In a short period of time with the Warriors, Durant, along with teammates Andre Iguodala and Stephen Curry, is already viewed as one of the sport’s front-faces in the tech world. Durant has investments in Rubrik (a cloud computing startup), Overtime (a sports technology media startup), the pizza chain Pieology, the app Acorns, Postmates (an on-demand delivery service), and Skydio (an autonomous drone startup).
“We’re paid for what we can do on the basketball court and most players know these paychecks are not going to come on the first and 15th for the rest of our lives,” he said. “If we get a big sum of money, why not try to help it grow? That’s what entrepreneurs and Fortune-500 CEOs do. They get a crop of money and they try to grow it. They get a product and they try to grow it. We’re our own business. Why not try to control that and why not try to leverage that to provide a better life after you’re done playing? That’s what it’s about.”
In continuing to grow his business and investment portfolio, Durant said what he has gathered is the importance of partnering with the right individual and the right corporation. His philosophy is that substantial financial gain doesn’t outweigh the fit.
“It’s about trust,” Durant said. “You see it all the time. You just put so much hope and trust in people and they disappoint you. It’s a matter of picking the right people, trusting them and having faith that it will work out because we don’t have all the answers, we don’t have all the ideas. It’s about finding out who does and empowering them to be the best that they can for you and your brand.”