After helping expand his team add Russell Westbrook, Houston Rockets star James Harden is now expanding his ventures beyond the NBA. It was announced that Harden recently joined the ownership group that handles soccer clubs Houston Dynamo of Major League Soccer and the Houston Dash of the National Women's Soccer League.
The ownership team, led by Gabriel Brener of the Brener International Group, runs both of Houston's first-division pro soccer clubs. The ownership group also includes names like private equity excutive Ben Guill and decorated former boxer Oscar De La Hoya.
Harden has become one of the biggest public figures in Houston after joining the Rockets back in 2012. The 29 year-old's investment in the Dynamo and Dash is his first such venture into a pro sports team to date.
“Houston is my home now, and I saw this as a way to invest in my city and expand my business interests at the same time. Soccer in general, and especially MLS, have exploded in this country throughout my lifetime," Harden said.
"The Beard" currently has four years and $171.1 million remaining on a supermax contract that will keep him in Houston until 2023. With plenty of money in his pocket, investing in a local team was probably a no-brainer for Harden.
Although he's signing on with the ownership group for the Dynamo and Dash, Harden will probably not have much influence on the every-day operations of either team. Instead, he will likely serve as more of an invested ambassador for the brands, helping grow the game of soccer within the city of Houston and beyond.