Kevin Durant is on a quest for world domination.
What else are we to think after the news that he plans to partner with music mogul Jay-Z and his newly formed Roc Nation Sports?
Durant recently parted ways with agent Rob Pelinka, who he'd only been with a little over a year. While it's not clear whether Durant wants to be represented by Roc Nation Sports — the Thunder superstar is under contract through 2015-16, so there's no immediate need for an agent — he absolutely wants to tap into the marketing opportunities that Jay-Z and Co. could provide him.
This from a guy who is already a pitchman for Nike, Gatorade, Sprint and Degree.
Durant is on so many commercials these days that had the Thunder made the NBA Finals, people might actually be getting sick of him.
What more does he want?
We're about to find out.
“There's a sense of what he could do (endorsement-wise), as long as his game stays strong, is kind of on autopilot,” ESPN sports business reporter Darren Rovell said. “Companies will come to him, and they know who he is. I don't feel like he has anything to lose.
“The question is, how much does he have to gain?”
Durant is already something of an unorthodox figure in the marketing world. Even though his game is dynamic, his personality is not.
You know, the whole KD is not nice thing.
But the truth is, he really is a nice guy. Shakes hands with strangers. Makes eye contact with people. Knows the arena workers between the locker room and court.
A decade ago, that personality might not have appealed to companies, but nowadays, it works.
“There's so much fake in the world that he turns out to be refreshing,” Rovell said.
But now Durant is reportedly going to join forces with Jay-Z, a man who's all about buzz and hype, splash and flash. He does everything bigger and bolder.
Honestly, though, the biggest thing to happen to Jay-Z since starting Roc Nation Sports is Durant. The agency only has a small base of clients. New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano is at the top of the heap. New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz, New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith and WNBA rookie Skylar Diggins are also on the roster.
None of them matches the star power of Durant.
Even though KD loves producing music and no one can develop that hobby better than Jay-Z, there's little doubt that Jay-Z the sports agency newbie needs Durant way more than Durant needs Jay-Z the music mogul.
Still, few have built a brand bigger or stronger than Jay-Z. He once rapped, “I'm not a businessman. I'm a business, man,” and it's true. The guy is an empire.
And his influence extends beyond what he does. If he gives something his stamp of approval, it is instantly cool. Beer. Clothing. Other artists.
So, what can Jay-Z do for Durant?
“He's really going to be the ultimate test case for Jay-Z as far as what he can do outside of the box,” Rovell said, “because obviously (Durant's) already there.”
Rovell suggested that Durant might be interested in the equity model. Instead being paid to represent a company, he would get a piece of it. Upstart companies are often willing to do that, and since Jay-Z and his business associates often start brands from scratch, Durant might have a chance to get in on the ground floor.
That sounds a bit risky, but frankly, this whole thing seems a bit risky. Roc Nation Sports has never had a client of Durant's stature.
But here's the deal, why shouldn't Durant take a chance like this?
Even though he's still young — only 24 years old — he's already one of the world's most recognizable athletes. He's already got the traditional endorsement deals. The shoes. The sports drink. The cellphone.
Why not see what else is possible?
Why not shoot for world domination?
So much for Oklahoma City being a place where an NBA player couldn't be a superstar. It sure doesn't seem to be holding back Durant.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.