Naomi Osaka buys ownership stake in North Carolina Courage of National Women’s Soccer League

Three-time Grand Slam champion and social justice advocate Naomi Osaka is adding another line to her résumé: Pro sports team owner.

Osaka announced via Twitter on Thursday that she had purchased a stake in the North Carolina Courage, one of 10 teams in the National Women’s Soccer League.

Osaka, who was the highest-paid female athlete in the world last year according to Forbes, said in a Twitter post that investing in the NWSL was inspired by the support she has received from women in sports.

In an interview with People, Osaka said she had been in discussions with NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird for awhile and looked at several teams before deciding to join the ownership group led by North Carolina-based businessman Steve Malik.

“I’ve been wanting to get involved with the NWSL for awhile, to promote women’s sports and also as a business investment because I can see it growing rapidly,” Osaka told People.

“First and foremost, I really like the people running the club from top to bottom. They align so closely with my values and interests — promoting women’s sports through grassroots and using the team as a platform to do good in the community.”.

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Osaka, 23, is currently preparing for the Australian Open beginning Feb. 8 where she will be the No. 3 seed and one of the favorites to win that title for the second time.

Last year, Osaka became one of the most prominent voices in sports on issues of racial inequality following the death of George Floyd, even flying to Minneapolis to take part in the protests. During the U.S. Open, Osaka wore a mask coming onto the court with the name of a different person who had been killed by police violence. She ended up winning the tournament, defeating Victoria Azarenka in a three-set final.

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