Tennis star Naomi Osaka is taking a page out of Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James' book and starting an agency. Osaka left her previous agency, IMG, with the intention of starting her own agency, called EVOLVE, according to Sportico.
The move isn't unprecedented for athletes, though it's rare. Kevin Durant, Roger Federer, James and Greg Norman are among the athletes to launch their own agencies and companies. With the move, Osaka will become the "first female athlete at that level to take full control of her business endeavors and attempt to build an agency," per Sportico.
EVOLVE isn't aiming to be a large agency. Osaka's agent, Stuart Duguid, who also left IMG for Evolve, said the company may only take on one or two other athletes. Duguid explained the business is mostly about "building Naomi’s business from $50 million a year to $150 million a year."
Naomi Osaka, business mogul
Osaka is well-equipped to start her own agency. She's the highest-paid woman athlete in the world. Osaka makes $52 million in endorsements, per Sportico's list. She holds equity in a number of companies, including Sweetgreen and Modern Health.
Osaka burst onto the scene in 2018, when she defeated Serena Williams in the U.S Open final. She won the Australian Open in 2019, the U.S. Open again in 2020 and the Australian Open a second time in 2021.
In 2020, Osaka was an outspoken critic of police brutality and racial injustice in the United States. At the 2020 U.S. Open, Osaka wore masks featuring the names of Black individuals who were victims of racial violence.