Naomi Osaka, LeBron James launch media company

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Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka and basketball icon LeBron James announced plans to launch a joint media production company venture.

The Hollywood Reporter reported on Tuesday that Osaka and her business partner Stuart Duguid’s venture, Hana Kuma, will partner with SpringHill, James’s production company with his longtime business partner and friend Maverick Carter.

The new joint venture will co-produce a documentary series for the Epix network, with Osaka, James and Carter serving as the executive producers for the planned series.

The first project for Hana Kuma, which means flower and bear in Japanese, will be called “MINK!” — a New York Times op-ed documentary on the life of Patsy Mink, the first woman of color to be elected to Congress and author and the co-sponsor of the Title IX ruling, which prohibits sex-based discrimination in schools and institutions that receive government funding, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

In a statement, Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam champion, expressed her excitement for her latest venture with the Los Angeles Lakers star forward.

“There has been an explosion of creators of color finally being equipped with resources and a huge platform,” the 24-year-old said in a 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. My story is a testament to that, as well,” she continued. “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.”

This comes as Osaka and Duguid announced last month the launch of their own sports agency called Evolve, departing their contracts at IMG Models in the process.

“I’ve spent my career doing things my way, even when people told me that it wasn’t what was expected or traditional,” Osaka told the sports business publication Sportico in an interview. “Evolve is the natural next step in my journey as both an athlete and businesswoman, as well as a way to continue being myself and doing things my way.”

Osaka first rose to prominence after defeating Serena Williams in the 2018 U.S. Open, becoming the highest-paid female athlete in the world years later.

Osaka also made headlines last year for taking time away from the sport to focus on her mental health, only to return to the tennis circuit earlier this year.

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