Following the likes of Michael Jordan and Drake, Brooklyn Nets player Kevin Durant has invested in the ever-growing esports industry.
Durant, along with his business partner and their investment arm Thirty Five Ventures, recently announced that they were investing in Andbox, a New York-based esports organization. Andbox owns the Call of Duty League’s New York Subliners and the Overwatch League’s New York Excelsior. They also have a Valorant team.
Durant will help Andbox raise brand awareness and host online tournaments and live events. There will also be custom merch and clothing. Durant said in a press release that he was inspired to invest in New York esports because of the state’s fans. Their passion “really hit home for me.” Getting involved with NBA 2K and New York-based esports was a “no brainer” for Durant and his partner, Rich Kleiman.
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) March 15, 2021
“Kevin really understands marketing, what’s cool and how to bring his own voice to life. He is well respected in the gaming community. I think he knows how to make it look fresh. He’s inherently a cool guy. And it’s not said lightly. I think that has so much to do with instinctual taste and feel for what will work and knowing the landscape of social media. He’s amazing at that and no greater area than gaming,” Kleiman said.
That passion and desire to be hands-on is what makes Andbox so excited to have Durant on board. The esports organization said that it was excited that Durant will be “engaged in what we do.” With experience playing Call of Duty, Durant will be able to relate to gaming fans and connect with other creators and streamers in the space.
“That’s what gets us the most excited,” Andbox said. “He’s actually gonna be engaged in what we do. And he’s the biggest sports star in New York. And the fact that we have him involved with our organization just speaks to why New York is special and the kind of people you draw in here.”
Durant will soon be seen wearing Andbox apparel and creating esports-related content. He will be involved in meetings that discuss future marketing, community, and apparel ideas. The organization will also be looking into collaborating with top gamers. Durant will be key when Andbox starts looking into brand partnerships as well. Past sponsors include DraftKings, Crocs, T-Mobile, Hershey’s, and United Airlines.
Other Andbox investors include actor Michael B. Jordan and Warby Parker CEO Neil Blumenthal. More creators and streamers will be announced in the coming weeks.