The NBA season is already in full swing, but for injured megastar Kevin Durant, a year-long achilles injury has kept the 7-foot Slim Reaper on the sideline in street clothes. But even without the nightly grind of an 82-game season, KD is still making moves off the court.
According to Forbes reporter and MERRY JANE contributor Javier Hasse, Durant and his longtime business partner, Rich Kleiman, have officially joined the advisory board of Canopy Rivers, an investment firm directly affiliated with Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth.
Through a strategic partnership with Durant and Kleiman’s own venture capitalist firm, Thirty Five Ventures, the two will join Canopy Rivers in co-investments in the cannabis space, and help expand the Canadian firm’s reach through Durant and his team’s “experience in brand development, marketing, and the sports and entertainment industry.”
“We’re excited to leverage that experience as we work towards raising the potential of the global cannabis industry,” Narbé Alexandrian, president and CEO of Canopy Rivers, told Forbes. “On top of their venture capital success, Kevin Durant’s career in professional sports, and Rich Kleiman’s expertise in the sector, are absolutely things we hope our portfolio benefits from. When we look at consumer brands, we see that high performance athletics as one area that is full of opportunity, and we look forward to the expertise the Thirty Five team brings in that regard.”
Thirty Five ventures already made its first foray into the cannabis space last year, with an investment in the stateside legal weed delivery service Dutchie. And while a number of retired NBA players have tried their hands at cannabusiness, Durant is by far the most celebrated basketball superstar to tie himself to the once-outlawed plant.
But despite any lingering stigma about athletes and cannabis, Kleiman said that the decision to join Canopy Rivers was about data more than dank, and creating a pathway to success in the industry long term, and not just grab a quick green rush buck.
“We’ve recognized that Canopy Rivers has taken a data-backed approach to map out forward-looking opportunities in the industry,” Kleiman told Forbes, adding that he looks forward to working with “some of the most disruptive founders in the space.”
As for Durant’s NBA drug tests, we’re guessing he’s chill for the rest of his year on injury, but when next season comes around, it's a pretty safe bet that league officials will be posted up outside the Brooklyn Nets’ locker room with a pee cup to find out just how hands-on Kevin is being with his latest investment.
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