Tom Brady Is Latest Pro Athlete To Join Pro Pickleball Ownership Ranks

Five-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady has become the latest athlete to take an ownership stake in a professional pickleball team, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback joins a growing roster that includes LeBron James, Draymond Green, Kevin Love, Drew Brees and James Blake.

Brady is part of an ownership group led by Knighthead Capital Management, LLC that purchased an expansion team for the 2023 Major League Pickleball season. The group also includes former world No. 1 tennis player Kim Clijsters.

“Tom Brady, Kim Clijsters, and Knighthead Capital Management are champions in their fields and will now be champions for Major League Pickleball,” said MLP Founder Steve Kuhn. “What really shines through in working with these amazing individuals is their passion for the sport. We are thrilled to welcome them to our unrivaled roster of strategic partners, who are individually and collectively instrumental in helping us elevate professional pickleball.”

Major League Pickleball is growing on multiple fronts in 2023: expanding from 12 to 16 teams, doubling its number of tournaments to six, and totaling more than $2 million in prize money. James last month became a partial team owner through LRMR Ventures, the company the NBA’s four-time MVP founded with longtime friend Maverick Carter.

Clijsters, a six-time tennis Grand Slam champion, said she’s most excited about the opportunity to shape the future of pickleball, which is one of the nation’s fastest growing sports. She plays the game regularly with two of the other members of her ownership group: Wall Street bond saleswoman Callie Simpkins, and financial advisor Kaitlyn Kerr, who will serve as general manager of the new MLP team.

“I’m thrilled to help showcase professional pickleball and make an impact on the sport through my experience gained in the top levels of professional tennis,” Clijsters said.

MLP’s 2022 season concludes this weekend in Columbus, Ohio, with the largest single-event purse in pickleball history — $319,000.