LeBron James and Naomi Osaka become teammates in the entertainment world.
Tennis star Osaka and her agent and business partner Stuart Dugid form a media company called Hana Kuma in partnership with NBA star James and Maverick Carter’s SpringHill.
Tuesday’s announcement came shortly after Osaka and Dugid founded EVOLVE, an agency representing athletes.
“There has been an explosion of color creators finally getting resources and a huge platform,” Osaka said in a press release about her new venture. “In the era of streaming, content has a more global perspective. You can see it in the popularity of television from Asia, Europe and Latin America that the unique can also be universal. My story is proof of that. I’m so excited about what we’re building at Hana Kuma. We will bring stories to life with this goal: to make unique perspectives universal and to inspire people along the way.”
24-year-old Osaka is a four-time Grand Slam champion and also ranked first in the WTA rankings. She was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and a Haitian father. The family moved to New York when Naomi was 3 and now lives in Los Angeles.
Osaka recently announced that it would miss Wimbledon for the second year in a row. She hasn’t competed on the tour since losing in the first round of the French Open last month.
According to Forbes, Osaka became the highest paid female athlete in the world in 2020, earning around $37 million thanks to a long list of sponsorship deals.
More recently, she has taken steps to expand her brand beyond the tennis court.
When asked about EVOLVE at Roland Garros, Osaka said, “I think role models are very important, just to see someone do something and it makes you feel like you can do the same thing.” . I found it very interesting that there was not a single female athlete who did this before, but there were so many men. So I think it’s a journey and I feel like I’ll learn a lot on this journey.”