Kevin Durant Latest Major League Pickleball Investor

Kevin Durant Joins MLP. Collin Johns Strategy. Nat Geo Pickleball. PPA & APP Overviews.

Apparently Major League Pickleball's new prerequisite for team owners is a championship ring. Following their recent ownership announcements of Tom Brady and Lebron James, yesterday we learned that two-time NBA champ Kevin Durant has entered the mix.

35V, the venture firm owned by KD and business partner Rich Kleiman, has agreed to purchase an MLP franchise. Want to see Durant on the pickleball court? Check out this clip from last month.

Pickleball fans got a freebie on Jeopardy last night. In the category 'Has a Name' the $1200 clue read:

Any guesses?

Advice from Coach CJ

Collin Johns recently took a step back from the pro circuit to attend an amateur tournament, as a spectator of course. He then noted his observations.

Here are a few of our favorites:

4. Shots regress to the middle of the court. Because ball control is somewhat limited, it's harder for amateurs to win points in the outer areas of the courts. As a result, the majority of shots are played to the middle. So if you're not sure where your opponent is about to hit to, guess middle. You'll guess right a huge portion of the time.

10. The law of the downward angle: thee who angles a volley down first will win the point an enormous percentage of the time. Firefights are frequent and often prolonged as players choose power over a downward angle. Prioritize taking speed off your counterpunches to angle them down rather than straight with power. Although it doesn't feel as good, you'll watch your opponent overhit their counter much more frequently.15. Put one extra ball in the court at all costs. Amateur players miss a substantial number of put-aways that are gimmes. So when all seems lost in a rally, scrap out one more ugly get if you can - just get one more ball in. Don't be proud about not giving your opponents the satisfaction of hitting a clean winner. You'll sometimes receive screams of dismay from your opponents for your efforts.

Check out the full list from CJ to find some real estate at the top of the podium.

Last Chance to Attend Nationals, On Us

We have teamed up with Selkirk to give one lucky member of the Dink Fam a trip to Nationals. See your favorite players in action at the state-of-the-art Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Palm Springs, CA. Click here to find out more!

The Slim Reaper Sets His Sights on MLP

Thirty Five Ventures is well-versed in the sports entertainment industry. In the past two years, they have invested in four sports leagues (like pro lacrosse and volleyball), SeatGeek, Just Women's Sports, Overtime and more.

Co-founder Rich Kleiman: "35V is committed to investing in the future of sports and emerging opportunities and Major League Pickleball is a league we are incredibly excited about. As an avid pickleball player and fan, the interest in the sport was a natural fit."

The community-building expertise of 35V made them an attractive candidate for MLP. KD's team is the third of four expansion teams that will be added for the upcoming 2023 season.

With the current list of celebrities snatching up teams, MLP 2023 might look more like the ESPY awards than a pickleball tournament. Take a look at the calendar and attend one of these can't-miss events live.

A Rare Sports Story in Nat Geo

International border conflicts; new cracks in the Rosetta Stone; daily habits of the Roraima mouse; pickleball? There's a certain type of story you'd expect from Nat Geo, but even the premier publication for science and culture can't deny pickleball's infiltration of American society.

The article (paywall) offers the typical break down of pickleball, how quickly it's growing and the people who are playing it. But it also offers a look at the story of J. "Gizmo" Hall, a pro player and motivational speaker who wants to build the first permanent court inside a juvenile detention center. When he’s not teaching inmates, he’s introducing at-risk youth to the game from his home court in Virginia.

We love to see pickleball having a positive impact, especially at such a critical time for the sport. Kudos to both the top-tier reporting at Nat Geo and, of course, to Gizmo for his great work.

PPA DC Open's Mixed Final to be Aired on National TV

The PPA Tour made the trek to the nation's capitol for the DC Open. The event is being played in the backyard of #1 ranked men's player Ben Johns. It is the first pro tournament in his home state of Maryland.

Johns is not one to disappoint a hometown crowd. He cruised through his side of the draw without dropping a game. His opponent for Sunday will be Jay Devilliers. #3 Devilliers beat his doubles partner #2 Tyson McGuffin in the semifinal round.

The tour rankings prove to be a crucial factor in the men's singles draw. McGuffin could have avoided Devillliers if he was able to hold onto the top seed from last month. He navigated through the back draw and finished the day in third.

In the women's draw, the #1 seed Anna Leigh Waters will face the #2 seed, Catherine Parenteau. Waters has won all of their matchups in 2022. PPA Tour rookie Rosie Johanson upset Lea Jansen in her first match of the day. Jansen later avenged her loss on her way through the back draw to bronze.

Tune in to mixed doubles today on PPA TV, and for the final, the PPA just announced: For the second time, the PPA will be on national television when the mixed doubles final of the n2grate DC Open is broadcast on CBS from 1:30-2:30pm EST on Saturday.

Sunday Coverage 12:00-2:00 pm CBS Sports Network | 2:00-4:00 pm Tennis Channel

Supercharge Your Water

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APP Sunmed Houston Open Singles Recap

The APP Tour made a first-time stop in H-town for the Sunmed Houston Open. Both #1 seeds went down early in Thursday's singles competition. MLP breakout, Lacy Schneemann, upset Jorja Johnson in the quarterfinals and finished the day in third.

Megan Fudge snagged a signature win against Parris Todd in the semifinals and went on to win the winner's bracket. She will face Todd again in the gold medal match on Sunday.

Yates Johnson played spoiler for the men's top seed Zane Navratil. But it was twin brother Hunter Johnson sitting pretty for Championship Sunday. He beat Yates in an identical brother-on-brother showdown and followed it up with a win over Federico Staksrud in the winner's bracket final.

Rafa Hewett powered through the back draw to win bronze.

Live coverage today, Saturday and Sunday is available on APP TV.

Headlines & Quick Hits

Highlights

Homecourt Havens

No jaw-dropping views on this one. Just everything you need on one 65x35ft slab. Notice the unique shade of green surrounding the court, it's a solid choice and unlike any we have seen before.

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