Big News. Misdirection. Milwaukee Bucks Night. MLP Group Draws.
Top of the morning, Dink Fam. If you haven't heard the news, you're not living under a rock, you're living off the grid, on a remote island, under a boulder.
Lebron James is now a part owner of Major League Pickleball!
King James joins the league as part of a consortium set to purchase an expansion team for MLP 2023. Naturally, anything that LBJ (no not the former president) gets into catches the attention of mainstream media. The King James news moved MLP into the headlines of ESPN, CNBC, the Wall Street Journal, Bleacher Report and many more.
It is going to be tough to top this owner group but there are still three more to be announced in the coming weeks. More on this below.
Of course, many of our readers are from the South Florida area. Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by Hurricane Ian.
Let's get into it.
Remember last Tuesday's the 'Art of Misdirection' piece featuring Tyler Loong? Well it looks like one of the breakout stars from last weekend's APP Sacramento Open took it to heart.
Men's doubles silver medalist, Derek Shearer, caught our eye with some slippery misdirect forehands that left opponents frozen in their tracks.
So for this 'Up Your Game,' we're waving goodbye to fundamentals (ok, not for good) and challenging you to add a new shot to your arsenal.
Watch how Shearer sells these shots by positioning his paddle-face to indicate a cross-court attack. It causes his opponents to freeze and prepare for the speedup. By holding it a split-second longer, he's then able to choose where to go with the winner. He slides one down the line and then another right up the middle.
The shocking part is neither ball was touched or even close to being played by his opponents, who might we remind you, are professionals.
The unorthodox misdirects even caught the eyes of Rob and Stone on the 'It Feels Right' podcast. Rob had flick envy over the misdirection and is determined to add it to his repertoire.
It's definitely a fun one, and it's a shot that, if you can get away with it, will leave even your opponents with only one option: applause.
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Lebron James is Taking his Talents to MLP
LRMR Ventures, the family office of Lebron James and Maverick Carter, is part of the newest MLP team ownership group for 2023. The group also includes:
- NBA Champions: Draymond Green and Kevin Love
- The SpringHill Company CMO Paul Rivera
- Relevent Sports Group co-owner and CEO Daniel Sillman
James is one of the most recognizable sports figures on earth. His name alone carries a ton of notoriety, evidenced by the wildfire-like news spreading through almost all major media outlets.
What does this mean for MLP? Access to a larger audience, ✅. Pop culture validation, ✅. LBJ pickleball apparel and shoes, TBD.
“Having SC Holdings, LRMR Ventures, and their incredible group as owners and investors in Major League Pickleball is not just great for MLP, it’s a watershed moment for pickleball in general” - MLP Founder Steve Kuhn.
The group is the first of four owners that will join MLP in their expansion from 12 to 16 teams in 2023. MLP is expected to finalize and announce the three remaining expansion owners before their Columbus, OH event Oct 14-16.
Group Stage Set for MLP Columbus
In preparation for the Columbus event next month, MLP announced the group stage draw. The group stage serves as a qualifier for the knockout rounds in the MLP format. Each team will play the other three teams in their group and the top two will advance.
GROUP A: BLQK | Jackrabbits | Florida Smash | Lions
GROUP B: The Ranchers | Mad Drops Pickleball Club | The Bus | Chimeras
GROUP C: Hard Eights | ATX Pickleballers | The 5's | Team Clean
Our eyes are on three things:
- A budding BLQK and FL Smash rivalry in Group A
- Ranchers seeking a repeat and powerhouse duo of AJ Koller & Julian Arnold of the Mad Drops in Group B
- Group C has 3 of the top 6 teams from Newport Beach. Group of Death?
Get your tickets for MLP Columbus Oct 14-16.
Everything You Need For Pickleball Under One Roof
Rhino Pickleball has paddles, balls and portable nets perfect for players at all levels. It's the best selection of training aids to support player development. Up your game with court markers, cones and other fitness accessories that take drill work to the next level.
Celebrity Athlete Pro-Am
The PPA Tour has pulled some big names for pro-am events in the past. The list includes Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Phelps and more. One ingredient they have been missing is the competitive aspect.
Enter the Round Up in Frisco, TX and four pro athletes that have each fallen in love with pickleball.
- NBA Legend: Dirk Nowitzki
- Professional Golfer: Jordan Spieth
- Pro Tennis Player: John Isner
- Former NFL QB: Tony Romo
Smart money is on the tennis star to run the court but don't underestimate the cross-sport athleticism of the group. Dirk Nowitzki has a known tennis background and Romo is rumored to be a beast in all sports, so the pressure might land on the steady hands of Spieth.
Play Pickleball on an NBA Court
The NBA is absolutely loving pickleball. Now Milwaukee Bucks fans have the chance to play on the court of their hometown team. The Bucks are hosting pickleball night on October 29 as the they take on the Atlanta Hawks.
The best part is that the group ticket includes access to an on-court pickleball clinic earlier in the day. Players will learn from one of the best in the biz, Dave 'The Badger' Weinbach. Participants will also receive a custom 'Bucks Pickleball paddle cover' as a souvenir.
Purchase your tickets here using the code PICKLEBALL.
Headlines & Quick Hits
- The popularity of pickleball pervades Los Altos
- Foundation awards funds for new pickleball courts
- Crescent Park pickleball courts vandalized just days after opening
- Keep up with the latest pickleball news in the pickleplay app
- Pickleball is life: Villager plays 3 times a day
- Sent this paddle into orbit
- This is why they call pickleball chess
- Adding Dink'em to all of my autographs from now on
- Sometimes you just gotta take the couch
Bury me next to this pickleball court. Beautiful scenery to accompany this pro level court complete with a permanent net. It could probably use a small fence around the perimeter but hey, if you hit the winner, you don't have to chase the ball anyway.