Brooklyn Nets, Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant’s investment portfolio adds MLS and government surveillance

Kevin Durant is one of the NBA’s most active entrepreneurs and he’s made some interesting new investments.

Kevin Durant has long been one of the NBA’s most interesting businessmen off the court, with his Thirty-Five Ventures partnership with Rich Kleiman making waves in media and all sorts of other industries.

This week news broke about two wave-making investments Durant has made. The first is that Durant has bought into MLS ownership, securing a minority stake in the Philadelphia Union. The Union had played just two games before the season was interrupted. They finished the 2019 season third in the Eastern Conference standings with 16 wins, 11 losses and 7 ties. The MLS has just reached agreement on a plan to resume their season with a summer tournament.

Did Kevin Durant really invest in drone surveillance?

The other investment is raising a few more eyebrows. Forbes reported this week that a drone technology startup company funded by Durant and founded by two former Google software engineers has landed millions in surveillance contracts from the U.S. government.

“But it’s been quietly pivoting to government work in the last year, Forbes discovered. In May, the DEA gave a $190,000 contract to Skydio, following a $16,000 order in August 2019. That same year, it also scored a $3 million contract with the U.S. Army and a $1.5 million deal with the Air Force, as it ramps up government work. Those awards built on work with local police departments that Skydio has been more vocal about. In December, it announced it was supplying the Chula Vista Police Department with drones, though the police agency told local reporters it wasn’t being used for anything other than emergency situations. Forbes also found the Ohio state government and L.A. County Department of Regional Planning were customers.”

Protests against institutional racism and police violence are ramping up around the country, often met by force from police and government agents. President Trump has alluded to using the military to stop those protests and an absurd and controversial op-ed from Senator Tom Cotton appeared in the New York Times this week calling for troops to be sent in to restore order. Several NBA players have been participating in protests and it remains to be seen how they’ll respond to news that Durant’s wealth may be helping fund government tools that could be used to track and counteract those protest efforts.

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