Four-time Grand Slam singles champion, Naomi Osaka, is leaving
the IMG agency and announcing that she’s launching her own sports agency Evolve. And Twitter posts reveal
that NBA Brooklyn Nets player Kyrie Irving is interested in joining.
The NBA player tweeted if Osaka’s agency had room for hoopers, to which Osaka replied with, “always room.”
During an Instagram Live, the baller claimed that he wasn’t planning on retiring despite the consequences he faced for his refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I am doing what’s best for me,” Irving said during the Live. “I know the consequences here, and if it means that I’m judged and demonized for that, that’s just what it is. That’s the role I play, but I never wanted to give up my passion, my love, my dream just over this mandate.”
Osaka is forming her own agency with agent Stuart Duguid, who’s also leaving IMG. The tennis player’s contract with IMG expired at the end of 2021, and she isn’t renewing it.
“I’ve spent my career doing things my way, even when people told me that it wasn’t what was expected or traditional,” Osaka told
Sportico. “Evolve is the natural step in my journey as both an athlete and businesswoman, as well as a way to continue being myself and doing things my way.”
“I strongly believe in the power athletes have to use our platforms to drive meaningful business,” the 24-year-old added.
Osaka’s departure from IMG is not the first time an athlete has left
a big agency to start one of their own. Professional golfer Jack Nicklaus left IMG in 1970 to launch Golden Bear. LeBron James began LRMR in 2006 for marketing. Tennis player Rafael Nadal departed from IMG a year after Roger Federer to launch his own agency called, Team8.