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Volume 24 No. 117
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Warriors' Kevin Durant Embracing Investments In Silicon Valley Startups, Fewer Endorsements

Since signing with the Warriors, KEVIN DURANT has "become a fixture in powerful" Silicon Valley circles, "breaking bread with, receiving intel from, and sometimes coinvesting" beside execs like Apple CEO TIM COOK and VC firms like Andreessen Horowitz, according to a cover story by Jon Steinberg of S.F. MAGAZINE. Through an umbrella corporation -- Durant Co. -- Durant and his agent, Roc Nation Sports' RICH KLEIMAN, have "acquired equity stakes in no fewer than 30 young companies." This is not an "entirely new idea," as a "constellation of current and former NBA stars" recently have also "made a raft of investments in startups of all sizes, shapes, and sectors within the tech industry." But none of these athletes has "infiltrated the highest echelon of the industry or forged as many symbiotic relationships with Valley luminaries as rapidly, or with as much quiet determination, as has Durant." Durant said of the early part of his career, "I had to do the Gatorade stuff, I had to do McDonald’s, I had to do so much stuff that I didn’t want to do.” Steinberg notes the "demands of too many endorsement deals -- a high of 13 at one point, now whittled down to 3 or 4 -- took their toll." Durant: “I hated photo shoots for stuff that I didn’t even use. And then Rich came in and simplified my whole life, and now the only stuff I’m doing is because I want to do it." Kleiman in '15 "sought out JAY-Z’s approval to drop the rest of his Roc Nation client list and focus all of his attentions" on Durant. Kleiman "still represents Durant as a player agent under the umbrella of Roc Nation Sports," but Durant Co. and a content-development arm called 35 Media is an "independent entity" (S.F. MAGAZINE, October '17 issue).