Rick Fox, the former NBA player, who founded e-sports team Echo Fox
NBA players have long had an interest in esports with more than one getting involved in esports directly. The most successful businessman of these players is undoubtedly Rick Fox, the former NBA player who played for the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers. His son was a huge fan of League of Legends esports and Rick became a fan as well as a way to connect with his son. Rick became such a huge fan that he ended up founding an esport team of his own, Echo Fox in order to compete in the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS).
Three years later, Echo Fox is the fourth most valuable esports organisation in the world according to Forbes and has teams in eight different games. Rick has continued to be the face of the organisation and often comes to watch the team play in the LCS. LA Lakers player Kevin Durant added his own investment to Echo Fox in 2018.
Watch Former NBA Star Rick Fox CNBC Interview. He Reveals Why He's Investing Big On E-Sports.
Michael Jordan partly bought e-sports club Team Liquid
Michael Jordan, one of the most famous NBA players of all time is part of an investment group called aXiomatic Gaming who bought out esports Team Liquid, the third most valuable esports organization in the world. Jordan has called esports a “fast-growing and international industry”. Golden State Warriors teammates Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala have both invested in Team Solomid, which is the second most valuable esports organization in the world.
Shaquille O’Neal bought Overwatch League team via NRG group
Shaquille O’Neal was one of the first basketball investors in esports, he is part-owner of the esports organizations NRG which has been plagued with mismanagement issues since its inception but now appears to have righted the ship. NRG’s biggest investment currently is their Overwatch League team, the San Francisco Shock.
NBA 2K League
A large invest – connection between the NBA and esports exists in the form of the NBA 2K League. It is a professional league which contains the best teams that play the basketball video game, NBA 2K. 17 of the 30 NBA teams partially own teams in the league. The New York Knicks’ team, Knicks Gaming, won the inaugural season in 2018. The NBA continues to be a huge proponent of esports, much more so than other traditional sports clubs.