Mon | Dec 18, 2017

Tech Times | Kevin Durant takes a shot at the cloud

Published:Monday | September 4, 2017 | 12:19 AM

SAN FRANCISCO:

Kevin Durant, named Most Valuable Player in the NBA Finals for his clutch shooting, is making what he hopes will be a well-aimed shot at cloud computing.

The Golden State Warriors star invested an undisclosed amount in start-up Rubrik and was named a board adviser for advice on strategic marketing initiatives.

“It’s a perfect opportunity” in the business-to-business market that is a “major play for us,” Durant told USA TODAY exclusively last Monday, a day before he was to represent the cloud-data management start-up at the VMworld technology conference in Las Vegas.

It used to be that professional athletes tried to capitalise and extend their millions in contract payouts and endorsement deals by buying restaurants or starting music labels. These days, if the player hails from the NBA, they’re more likely to want to score returns in tech.

“Being in Silicon Valley, I play in front of (tech executives) and run into them at restaurants,” says Durant, in explaining his growing list of tech investments.

Durant is one of several NBA superstars making a fast break for tech investments, partnerships and start-up equity, coached by well-connected venture capitalists such as Ben Horowitz and an NBA off-court education programme.

Golden State Warriors teammates Stephen Curry (co-founder of social media start-up Slyce) and Andre Iguodala (investor in Apple, Twitter, Facebook and Tesla) have also made the rounds. Twice, the online second-hand clothing marketplace for which Iguodala was men’s style director, was sold to eBay for an undisclosed sum in 2015.