In this day and age, most NBA players are getting truckloads of money. Some decide to spend it on a lavish lifestyle, others spend it on philanthropic activities, and many are now focusing on taking advantage of their salaries in business pursuits, to further increase their net worth and secure a financial future once they enter career-uncertainty post-retirement.
What is Thirty Five Ventures? Thirty Five Ventures is a multi-faceted company that invests in start-ups across industries, as well as operating in the sports, media, and entertainment industries. Thirty Five Ventures was founded by Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant and his manager Rich Kleiman in 2016.
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Who are the founders of Thirty Five Ventures?
Thirty Five Ventures was co-founded by Kevin Durant and Rich Kleiman. Kevin Durant is currently playing for the Brooklyn Nets in the NBA. Rich Kleiman is a former music executive, who is Kevin Durant’s manager and longtime friend.
Durant and Kleiman met not long after Durant had entered the NBA in 2007, through a music connection: Kleiman was a manager in Roc Nation, rapper Jay-Z’s record label. Kleiman and Durant struck a friendship that built over the years, and when Kevin Durant signed with Roc Nation’s sports division, Kleiman became Durant’s manager. Building upon their friendship, that now included the management of Durant’s personal and professional affairs, Kleiman and Durant decided to found Thirty Five Ventures, to actively pursue business opportunities that Durant believed in.
In terms of the dynamics, Durant is the one who pushes for and greenlights opportunities, while Kleiman feeds Durant the opportunities he thinks are what Durant is suited for, while also managing the ventures and investments. Unlike some companies, where the star’s name is attached in terms of brand marketing, Durant is heavily involved in the decision-making and direction of Thirty Five Ventures.
What is the significance behind the naming of Thirty Five Ventures?
Thirty Five Ventures gets its name from the number that Kevin Durant wore when he played for the Golden State Warriors, the team he was playing for when Thirty Five Ventures was founded. Durant also wore #35 for his previous team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, although he currently wears #7 for the Brooklyn Nets.
The reason for why Durant has worn #35 for a long portion of his career is a somber one. Durant’s AAU coach, Clark Craig, was fatally shot at the age of 35. Durant has worn the #35 to honor his coach who had a big impact on his life.
What markets and industries does Thirty Five Ventures operate in?
Thirty Five Ventures originally made investments and bought stakes in start-ups or growing businesses. These investments were made across a span of industries, including “fintech, cryptocurrency, health and wellness, media & more.” Notable investments made by Thirty Five Ventures include food delivery app Postmates, cryptocurrency platform CoinBase, health tracking app WHOOP, ticket platform SeatGeek, and blockchain-based game creators Dapper Labs. As of 2022, Thirty Five Ventures has invested in over 80 companies.
Thirty Five Ventures made its way into the media industry, and created its branch Thirty Five Media. Thirty Five Media weaves together the sports, media, and entertainment industries, which both Durant and Kleiman had a strong passion in exploring. They’ve launched their own podcasts, such as Boardroom, which explores the intersection between sports, media, and business.
Thirty Five Media has also ventured into content creation, such as web series Swagger, that is loosely based on Kevin Durant’s basketball journey. Thirty Five Media also created Two Distant Strangers, a short film executive produced by Durant and Utah Jazz player Mike Conley Jr. Released on Netflix, the short film received an Oscar, making Durant and Conley Jr. the only NBA players to receive an Oscar, along with Kobe Bryant.
What is the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation?
Prior to founding Thirty Five Ventures, Kevin Durant founded his own charity, the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation, in 2013. Coming from a low-income background himself, Durant envisioned a way to give back to his community and communities around the world. The goal of the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation is to “enrich lives of at-risk youth from low-income backgrounds through education, athletic and social programs.”
The Kevin Durant Charity Foundation is now managed under Thirty Five Ventures, and Durant remains an active founder while Kleiman is the executive director. The KDCF has since opened up headquarters in Durant’s hometown in Prince George’s County in Maryland, known as the Durant Center. The KDCF builds and renovates basketball courts around the US as well as the world, and also provides emergency relief services.
What other sources of income does Kevin Durant receive?
Apart from the returns on investments made through Thirty Five Ventures, Durant receives a yearly salary with the Brooklyn Nets: in 2021-2022, he received just over $42 million. In 15 seasons in the NBA, Durant’s career earnings total just over $300 million, and he has a contract extension that will add a further $189 million in guaranteed money in the next 4 years.
Durant also has sponsorships that see him receive significant revenue, such as his 10-year deal with Nike that is worth up to $300 million. Forbes has listed that Durant receives $50 million a year from endorsements with brands and companies such as Coinbase, NBA Top Shot, and Weedmaps. His total yearly earnings come out to $92 million, making him the 6th highest-paid athlete in the world according to Forbes.
Kevin Durant has made quite the living for himself, earning himself big paychecks as well as lots of endorsement money by being one of the biggest and best NBA players in the last decade. His business-savvy and visionary mindset has paid off in some extremely high returns on investments through Thirty Five Ventures. Best of all, Durant continues to do what he loves, by doing content creation on topics dear to him with Thirty Five Media and engaging in philanthropy to tackle issues that are important to him with the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation. If Durant continues as is, his big paydays won’t stop even long after his NBA career is over.