Former NFL star Drew Brees buys stake in professional pickleball staff

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One of many best NFL gamers to ever toss a pigskin is now the bulk proprietor of knowledgeable pickleball staff.

Retired New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees has joined the possession group of the Austin, Texas, Mad Drops, the staff announced Thursday. The Mad Drops’ minority homeowners additionally embrace New York actual property dealer Ryan Serhant and Jim Buss, co-owner of the Los Angeles Lakers. The staff did not disclose how a lot Brees paid to take a stake within the membership.

The Mad Drops are considered one of a dozen co-ed groups within the newly fashioned Main League Pickleball, or MLP. The league launched final September with monetary backing from entrepreneur Steve Kuhn. 

Brees, 43, stated in an announcement that he is an avid pickleball participant and a scholar of the sport who’s trying “ahead to serving to increase consciousness across the unimaginable gamers and competitions in MLP.” 

“As a long-time skilled athlete and competitor myself, I look ahead to working with the Mad Drops PC staff in our relentless quest to win many championships within the years to return,” Brees stated.

MLP’s second season begins Aug. 5 in Newport Seashore, California. Video games are broadcast reside on the league’s YouTube web page.

Brees spent 20 seasons within the NFL, principally with the Saints. He led the staff to a Tremendous Bowl championship in 2010 earlier than retiring final 12 months as one of the vital embellished passers in NFL historical past. Brees spent his first season away from the NFL as a soccer analyst for NBC Sports activities.

Other than Brees, different MLP groups are partly owned by tech entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk; Marc Lasry, co-owner of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks; and former tennis skilled James Blake. 

Pickleball was invented in 1965 in Bainbridge Island, Washington, by Joel Pritchard, Invoice Bell and Barney McCallum. However the sport’s reputation has exploded lately, significantly throughout the pandemic. It’s now the nation’s quickest rising sport, in accordance with the Sports activities and Health Business Affiliation. In 2021, there have been 4.8 million gamers within the U.S., up almost 15% from 2020, the commerce group stated.

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