In “Diamonds from Sierra Leone (Remix),” Jay-Z famously rapped “I’m not a businessman; I’m a business, man!” That’s no longer just true of rappers, though; many professional athletes have moved beyond simply being sports stars and are raking in more money than ever before. Just look at Kevin Durant.
While the Brooklyn Nets forward hasn’t played basketball since the 2019 NBA finals, he still has plenty of money in the bank. A nice chunk of that, it seems, has come from the government.
Kevin Durant’s impressive basketball career
Given his year-long absence from the NBA, Kevin Durant’s name may not garner the same hype that it once did. Before his ACL tear, however, the forward was one of the NBA’s brightest stars.
Growing up just outside Washington, D.C., Durant got his start on the AAU circuit. After playing his high school ball at Oak Hill Academy and the Montrose Christian School, he took his talents to the University of Texas and joined the Longhorns.
During his one season of NCAA action, Durant averaged 25.8 points and 11.1 rebounds; that convinced the Seattle SuperSonics to select him second overall in the 2007 NBA draft. The forward took home the Rookie of the Year title and, when the team moved to Oklahoma City, developed into a true franchise player.
While Durant experienced plenty of individual success with the Thunder, scoring titles and a league MVP award wasn’t enough. In 2016, he joined the Golden State Warriors; while the move wasn’t popular, it did allow the forward win two NBA championships before moving east to join the Brooklyn Nets.
Building up an impressive investment portfolio
Based on his star status and on-court talent, Kevin Durant has earned plenty of money playing basketball. While he’s made more than $225 million in raw salary, according to Spotrac, that cash doesn’t simply sit in the bank.
Durant, like many other athletes, has become a bit of a businessman, too. Through his company, Thirty Five Ventures, the forward has invested in countless companies, ranging from headphones—as noted by Forbes—to companies like Acorn and Postmates.
In a 2017 profile, the New York Times referred to Durant as “Silicon Valley’s hottest start-up” and referencing his “swelling portfolio of investments in tech companies like Postmates and Acorns, in addition to hotels and restaurants and film and television development.” Those business decisions seem to be paying off; according to CelebrityNetWorth, the forward has an estimated fortune of $170 million.
Kevin Durant drone investment is also paying off
In 2017, Sporttechie reported that Kevin Durant invested in Skydio, an autonomous drone start-up. Three years later, that move is paying dividends.
While you might think of drones as a cool gadget, vloggers aren’t the only ones interested in buying them. According to a recent Forbes write-up, Skydio has begun securing some government contracts, including a $190,000 deal with the DEA, $3 million more from the US Army, and $1.5 million from the Air Force. Forbes also found evidence that the company had done business with the state of Ohio and Los Angeles County.
It’s not clear how much Durant will profit from those deals—beyond that fact that his initial investment was passive, we don’t know much about his relationship with Skydio—even a small piece of a $4.7 million pie isn’t a bad return.