Naomi Osaka, LeBron James team up to launch new media company

Wednesday, June 22, 2022
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A therapist says that Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka bravely speaking out has started a national conversation that's long overdue.

Four-time major winner Naomi Osaka is launching a new media company in partnership with NBA superstar LeBron James, the tennis star has announced.

Hana Kuma, which means "flower bear" in Japanese, will produce stories that are "culturally specific but universal to all audiences," a statement read.

James and Maverick Carter's The SpringHill Company will, said the statement, provide "essential production, development, and strategic resources" to Hana Kuma.

"There has been an explosion of creators of color finally being equipped with resources and a huge platform," Osaka said in the statement.

"In the streaming age, content has a more global perspective. You can see this in the popularity of television from Asia, Europe, and Latin America that the unique can also be universal.

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"My story is a testament to that as well. I'm so excited for what we are building at Hana Kuma. We will bring stories to life with this goal in mind: to make unique perspectives feel universal and inspire people along the way."

The production company is the latest project between Osaka, 24, and her long-time agent Stuart Duguid. The pair also have a sports agency named Evolve, which signed Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios on Monday.

According to Forbes, Osaka became the world's highest-paid female athlete in history by earning about $37 million in 2020 thanks to a long list of sponsorship deals.

She will not be competing at Wimbledon this year because of an ongoing issue with her Achilles.