Naomi Osaka and LeBron James are launching a media company


Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka and basketball icon LeBron James have announced plans to launch a media production joint venture.

The Hollywood Reporter reported Tuesday that Osaka and his business partner Stuart Duguid’s company, Hana Kuma, will team up with James’ own production company with his business partner and longtime friend Maverick Carter, SpringHill.

The new joint venture will co-produce a documentary series for the Epix Network, with Osaka, James and Carter serving as executive producers on the planned series.

The first project for Hana Kuma, which means flower and bear in Japanese, will be called MINK!a New York Times opinion documentary about the life of Pasty Mink, the first woman of color to be elected to Congress and author and co-sponsor of the Title IX ruling, which outlaws gender discrimination in schools and institutions that receive government funding, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

In a statement, four-time Grand Slam champion Osaka expressed excitement about her latest venture with the Los Angeles Lakers star forward.

“There has been an explosion of creators of color finally equipped with resources and a huge platform,” the 24-year-old said in a statement.

“In the age of streaming, content has a more holistic perspective. You can see this in the popularity of television from Asia, Europe and Latin America that the unique can also be universal. My story testifies to that as well,” she continued. “I’m so excited about what we’re building at Hana Kuma. We’ll bring stories to life with this goal in mind: to make unique perspectives feel universal and inspire people along the way. »

It comes as Osaka and Duguid announced last month the launch of their own sports agency called ‘Evolve’, quitting their contracts with agency IMG Models in the process.

“I’ve spent my career doing things my way, even when people told me it wasn’t what was expected or traditional,” Osaka told sports publication Sportico in an interview. “Evolve is the natural next step in my journey as an athlete and a businesswoman, and a way to continue being myself and doing things my way.”

Osaka rose to prominence after beating Serena Williams at the 2018 US Open, becoming the highest-paid female athlete in the world years later.

Osaka also made headlines last year for taking time away from sports to focus on her mental health, returning to the tennis circuit earlier this year.


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