A decade after turning G.O.O.D. Music into a powerhouse Hip Hop label, Kanye West is setting his sights on building another all-star team — this time in the world of sports.
NFL star Aaron Donald has been unveiled as the newest athlete signed to Ye’s Donda Sports, the athletics company he founded with Pro Bowl receiver Antonio Brown earlier this year.
The Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle announced the partnership during a recent appearance on the I Am Athlete podcast and explained what attracted him to joining Kanye’s budding sports empire.
“My wife actually does my marketing. It was an opportunity that came to us and it made sense,” he told podcast hosts Brandon Marshall, Adam “Pacman” Jones and LeSean McCoy. “Hearing the whole spectrum of everything that they was gonna be bringing, the family atmosphere that they got at Donda Sports … for me, it was a no-brainer.”
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A three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and eight-time Pro Bowler, Donald has established himself as one of the premier defensive players in the league. His career hit new heights in February when the Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI, earning him his first championship ring.
However, the 31-year-old believes there’s still room for him to grow both on and off the field, and he hopes Donda Sports will help him realize those ambitions.
“It’s a helluva opportunity to open up a lot of different doors and a lot of different things outside of football that I want to be involved in,” he said. “So to be one of the first athletes to be a part of [Donda Sports] is pretty dope, man. We excited about it and we gon’ see where this thing goes.”
AD also hinted at a cleats collaboration with Kanye West’s Yeezy brand (“Ain’t nothing in full circle but we’ve been talking. We’ve got a lot of different things that’s planned”) and recalled meeting the billionaire rap mogul.
“He’s a cool dude. We got to talk a little bit, vibe,” he added. “It was at one of his video shoots. He actually wanted me to get in one of the videos, but I was like, ‘Nah.’ It was out of my element, but he’s a real cool guy.”
A sports-centric off-shoot of Kanye West’s multibillion-dollar empire, Donda Sports was launched in January with NFL pro-turned-rapper Antonio Brown as president. In addition to signing Aaron Donald, the company’s hot start has spawned a SLAM magazine cover, a small line of athletics gear and $4 billion ambitions to buy the Denver Broncos.
“Donda Sports was founded with the vision of providing holistic support to athletes during and beyond their sports career,” a press release from the company read. “Donda Sports is a limitless organization centered on professional and wellness support in equal measure with the ambition to work with athletes across all genders, divisions and sports.”