Move over baseball — there might just be a new sport poised to take your spot as America’s pastime. It’s pickleball, and you’ve probably either played it or heard someone talk about playing it at some point in recent years.
The game itself fits somewhere between tennis and ping-pong and has taken much of the country by storm. From novices to world-class athletes, there’s something for just about everyone — including NBA legend LeBron James — to enjoy.
The Lakers superstar joined forces with fellow pro basketball players Kevin Love and Draymond Green to purchase an as-yet unspecified Major League Pickleball team.
Although the sport has been around since the ‘60s, it wasn’t until last year that it received the recognition of a professional athletic league. The move was all but predestined given the recent rise in pickleball’s popularity.
A study earlier this year found that just under 5 million people have played the sport thus far in 2022 and its reach has expanded nearly 12% over the course of just the past five years. James is reportedly one of its ardent fans, as is business partner Maverick Carter, who is also invested in the new MLP team.
Describing the game as “both fun and competitive,” Carter said: “To see the sport growing in communities all over is really exciting, and we’re looking forward to bringing our expertise together to try and build a championship team.”