Major League Pickleball (MLP by Margaritaville) has reported world-class additions to its 24 team ownership groups, led by social media influencers Dude Perfect (Frisco, TX franchise), professional athletes Jayson Tatum, Haley Jones, and Josh Allen are joining Los Angeles Mad Drops; Jewell Loyd and Zach LaVine will be part of Miami Pickleball Club, and AZ Drive welcomes world chess champion Magnus Carlsen.
MLP Founder Steve Kuhn said, “It is thrilling to add this collection of influential athletes and entertainers to Major League Pickleball’s team ownership groups. Their ability to reach young fans will be a key component in helping MLP and the sport of pickleball continue on our current rapid growth track.”
Dude Perfect comprises former college roommates from Texas A&M University twins Cory and Coby Cotton, Tyler “Beard” Toney, Garrett “Purple Hoser” Hilbert, and Cody “Tall Guy” Jones. The group has over 100 million followers on social media and attracts a younger, digital-savvy demographic with its whacky sports-related challenge videos. They often feature top pros from the world of sports and over nearly 60 million subscribers!
Jones, Tatum, and Allen are the new additions to the Los Angeles Mad Drops owners’ team, already including Super Bowl winner and future Hall of Famer quarterback Drew Brees.
I have loved pickleball since I first played over a decade ago,” commented Jones. “I’m so happy to be joining MLP and my fellow new co-owners with the Mad Drop.”
The Atlanta Dream selected Jones from Stanford University at No. 6 in the 2023 WNBA Draft. As a sophomore in 2021, she bagged the Final Four Most Outstanding Player award on her way to winning the national championship with the Cardinals.
NBA pro Jayson Tatum is a four-time NBA All-Star. After graduating from Duke University, he became the third overall pick in the 2017 Draft. He has achieved career-high scoring, rebounding, and assist numbers this season – 30.1, 8 8, and 4 6 – helping the Boston Celtics reach second place in the Eastern Conference and battle to a seventh game in the Conference semi-finals against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Out of Firebaugh, CA, Josh Allen plays quarterback for the Buffalo Bills. He was drafted at No. 7 in 2018 after three years at the University of Wyoming. He has been instrumental in the Bills winning three AFC East Division titles on the run and is their record single-season passing yard and touchdown record holder.
Loyd and LaVine hook up with the Miami Pickleball Club ownership teams, also featuring Nick Kyrgios, Naomi Osaka, Patrick Mahomes, Darius Garland, and Mardy Fish, as discussed in one of our articles recently.
“Pickleball is clearly the next big thing,” said Loyd “l fell in love with it instantly, but the culture and the community around it brought me even closer to the game.”
Seattle Storm guard Loyd is an expert basketball player who went No. 1 overall in the 2015 WNBA draft. She is a two-time WNBA championship winner (2018 and 2020) and has been named a WNBA All-Star on four occasions.
She also won a gold medal for Team USA at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.
Zach LaVine has been named an NBA All-Star and Slam Dunk Contest Champion on two occasions. His nine-year NBA career includes stints with the Minnesota Timberwolves from 2014 to 2017) and the Chicago Bulls from 2017 to the present day.
Norwegian Magnus Carlsen is a five-time World Chess Champion and has been the number-one ranked player in the world for more than a decade. He appeared in the Time Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2013.
Exciting times ahead for pickleball! 🎉🏓 https://t.co/RJwDkkDAxN— AZ DRIVE (@AZPickleball) May 11, 2023
Carlsen joins the already star-studded ownership team at AZ Drive. The line-up includes the U.S. Olympic legendary swimmer Michael Phelps. three-time NBA All-Star Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns, All-time NFL Pro Bowler Larry Fitzgerald, and country music singer and songwriter Dierks Bentley.
MLP’s debut season climaxes in San Clemente, CA from Thursday, June 15 thru Monday, 19. You can follow ball-by-ball coverage on the official MLP YouTube channel. Official distribution information will be announced before the event.
Event tickets are available on the Major League Pickleball (MLP) website.
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