Naomi Osaka has been involved in several promising projects of late, and they are not just limited to the tennis industry.
She is unveiling her latest venture, a production company involving a partnership with the legendary basketball player LeBron James. They intend to emphasize “empowering” and “culturally specific” stories.
Naomi Osaka’s New Production Company Will Produce Scripted And Non-Fiction Subjects
According to CNBC, the successful pro sportswoman is setting up the media production brand in collaboration with the TheSpring Hill Company, James’ media empire.
The new company, Hana Kuma, will produce written and non-fiction content, beginning with a New York Times documentary about Patsy Mink, the first woman of color elected to U.S. Congress.
Osaka revealed so in a press release, “There has been an explosion of creators of color finally being equipped with resources and a huge platform. In the streaming age, content has a more global perspective.”
She continued, “You can see this in the popularity of television from Asia, Europe, and Latin America that the unique can also be universal. My story is a testament to that as well.”
Her partner James’ media company, established by himself and business associate Maverick Carter, will provide “production and strategic resources” to Hana Kuma.
The media conglomerate also has several other collaborations, including one with FTX, a crypto exchange platform, and Modern Health, a health program.
This will not be Osaka’s first rodeo in launching brands, as she previously introduced her “athlete representation agency,” Evolve, last month after ending her contract with IMG.
The Blast shared that she had been in partnership with IMG for six years and withdrew to collaborate with her agent Stuart Duguid to launch Evolve, in which they both have “equity stakes.”
The Japanese athlete told Sportico the idea behind her sports brand, stating that it was a “natural” succeeding move in her career. She explained:
“I’ve spent my career doing things my way, even when people told me that it wasn’t what was expected or traditional. Evolve is the natural next step in my journey as both an athlete and businesswoman.”
Osaka is one of the highest-paid sportswomen worldwide and became popularly known when she was victorious against the highly regarded Serena Williams in the U.S. Open final in 2018.
She went on to achieve landslides in the subsequent years, winning in 2019’s and 2021’s Australia Open as well as the U.S. Open in 2020.
2021 was also the same year the WTA honoree spoke up about mental health after announcing her decision not to take part in a press conference due to the mental impact it could have on athletes.
Her decision ultimately caused her a $15,000 fine, leading her to withdraw from the French Open. Still, fellow sportspersons backed her following her mental health speech.
Regarding Osaka’s Evolve, her agent described it as “a small boutique and bespoke agency” that is open to only athletes “who transcend their sports” or have the ability to do so.
The project took no time to gain attention as NBA icon Kyrie Irving got in touch with the 24-year-old tennis star shortly after its launch, asking if basketballers were accepted in Evolve.
She declared that there was always room for the “hoopers” and cheered Irving’s imminent involvement with her brand.
The Grand Slam Singles Champion Leaves Wimbledon Possibly Due To Lack Of Rating Points
BBC recently reported Osaka’s withdrawal from Wimbledon after she expressed her uncertainty about playing at the games due to its absence of rating points.
It is worth knowing that Wimbledon’s rating points were canceled after the tournament banned Russian and Belarusian players over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Earlier this month, the Wimbledon’s singles entry list was released, featuring the October-born’s name; however, she has not appeared in any of the grass-court happenings.
She released a statement around the same time, saying she was “trying to find the positives in a negative situation.”
Osaka felt like life kept “dealing cards,” which people would never get used to, but they could “adapt to uncomfortable situations.” She noted that that really articulated one’s character.
She added that she thought of all her loved ones every day before heading to bed and how grateful she was to have them in her life.
The U.S. Open icon further wished them the best and hoped her “existence” brought them as much joy as they did to her.