Tennis star Naomi Osaka and basketball great LeBron James have teamed up to launch a media production company that will focus on giving a bigger platform to “culturally specific” stories on “important social issues.”
According to Osaka, the new venture will be called Hana Kuma, which translates as “flower bear” in Japanese. Osaka, 24, was born in Japan to a Haitian father and Japanese mother. She moved to the U.S. at age 3, The Washington Post reported.
“I’ve built my career taking a different approach than those around me,” the L.A.-based Osaka said in an Instagram post. “Because my journey has been so different it’s opened my eyes to all the incredible stories out there. Stories that are global, about a variety of cultures and points of view, about important social issues,” the four-time Grand Slam champion added.
Four-time NBA champion James, 37, said he was “incredibly proud” to work alongside Osaka on the new venture as part of his SpringHill Co., which he launched with Maverick Carter.
“This incredible woman and the stories she is going to bring to life is EXACTLY what we about!!!” James tweeted.
James and Maverick Carter’s The SpringHill Company will, according to the statement, provide “essential production, development, and strategic resources” to Hana Kuma, CNN reported.
The media production company will feature television shows, documentaries and anime programs.
“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.”
Osaka recently launched a sports agency, Evolve, with her long-time agent Stuart Duguid, and the agency signed popular Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios in early June. Duguid also will be involved in Hana Kuma.
Osaka became the world’s highest-paid female athlete in history by earning about $37 million in 2020, due mainly to sponsorship deals, Forbes reported.
James recently became the first active NBA player to become a billionaire.