LeBron James, Tom Brady invested, so what is all the fuss about?

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. A phrase often used when stress is increasing. Some thrive under pressure, others crumble.

Central to America’s A-list sport of pickleball is an area called the kitchen. The Kardashians, Clooneys and Leonardo DiCaprio have all become accustomed to exchanging shots in it — a zone of the court where volleys are forbidden.

They are all pickleball enthusiasts. The burgeoning racquet sport has swept the United States — and the acceleration doesn’t look like burning out.

Pickleball combines elements from tennis, badminton and table tennis. Played on a smaller court than tennis, players serve a ball with holes and hit it back using slightly larger and heavier racquets than table tennis.

Tom Brady, LeBron James and recently crowned Super Bowl champion Patrick Mahomes are just a few of the star names who have all invested in the ever-growing game.

NFL legend Tom Brady has invested in Pickleball
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has also bought into the sport
The sport of racquets is growing in popularity in the United States
Tennis stars Nick Kyrgios and Naomi Osaka are co-owners of the Miami Pickleball Club

Football season is over for another year, the relentless NBA circus continues to spin as baseball players regain their momentum. Meanwhile, Pickleball’s popularity is rising.

Basketball superstar James, known for his sports portfolio, was one of the first notable figures to spend some money on a professional pickleball team. NBA stars Kevin Love and Draymond Green joined his company.

Weeks later, now-retired NFL legend Brady announced that he was part of an ownership group of an expansion Major League Pickleball (MLP) club alongside tennis star Kim Clijsters.

Just days later, NBA sensation Kevin Durant was next to reveal his investment in owning an MLP expansion team. The Major League Pickleball is home to the sport’s 24-team Premier League, which was only introduced this year.

Interest in celebrity circles doesn’t stop there. Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx wanted to be a part of it all and created his own paddle to sell and capitalized on demand.

Reality kings, the Kardashians, George and Amal Clooney, DiCaprio, Stephen Colbert and Bill Gates are also admirers.

The billionaire founder of Microsoft was even ahead of the trend. The 67-year-old posted a video of himself explaining the rules on social media, with the caption: “50 years ago I started playing this little known sport with a funny name. Now it’s all the rage.’

Australia’s polarizing tennis star Nick Kyrgios is also a fan, standing up for James and Durant in a row after former Australian doubles champion Rennae Stubbs blasted athletes investing in the sport.

Oscar winner Jamie Foxx got into the action by creating and selling his own paddle

Kyrgios and Naomi Osaka have given their support by becoming co-owners of the Miami Pickleball Club.

Tennis pros Jon Neeter and Julio Rivera have spent more than $250,000 on a new pickleball facility in Los Angeles, California over the past few weeks.

Britney Spears, Matt Damon, Owen Wilson, Christian Bale, Michael Keaton, Dustin Hoffman and Blake Griffin made up the star-studded guest list.

“A lot of people are afraid of missing out,” Neeter told Dailymail.com when asked why he thinks there is so much interest in Pickleball.

The LA Santa Monica Pickleball Center has sold about 1,300 tennis racquets in 10 years but has already sold 700 pickleball racquets as of November.

As Gates mentioned, the sport is not a new phenomenon.

Developed by three fathers on vacation to Bainbridge Island, Washington, when they were looking for some entertainment for their families. As early as 1965, they combined a net, initially at the level of a badminton net, table tennis bats and a perforated ball into one game.

But it turned into a craze rather than just a fad during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the sport “exploded” according to USA Pickleball’s Melissa Zhang.

George and Amal Clooney are among the celebrities who have developed an interest in the sport

Accessibility makes it attractive with little to no cost, while all ages can pick up a paddle and give it a try.

“It’s a sport for everyone,” Zhang told Dailymail.com. “Grandparents can play with grandkids and the social aspect really draws a lot of people in.”

Neeter announced that Southern California fire stations have set up pickleball courts for workers to play during their downtime, noting that “you could put up a temporary net in your driveway.”

The Santa Monica Pickleball Center owner also believes the skill required has seen the sport gain traction.

“You can reach a level of confidence faster and that gives people an immediate sense of accomplishment,” he added.

The physical demands are also much less demanding, as Neeter explains, former NFL players “whose bodies are beat up” have resorted to the sport to stay active.

“A sense of inclusivity only accelerates growth and demand.”

The obsession with the sport is real, with more than 36.5 million Americans taking up it in 2022.

Zhang believes the game’s “quirky” name and nature also contributed. The kitchen certainly has more intrigue than the non-volley area.

It is a two-foot zone on either side of the net where players cannot volley the ball to prevent balls from being smashed right at the net.

The perimeter of the kitchen is a dominant position, especially in the doubles format of the game with players at the front of the court.

Players can enter the kitchen but must bounce the ball before returning a shot from it.

The temptation to hit a ball in mid-air is there, much like the urge to enter a kitchen full of delicious food.

There is some resistance to the rise of pickleball with conflict over the use of tennis courts and children’s playgrounds to play it, but with the amount of money pumped into it and high-profile stars popularizing it, it’s gaining momentum.

There is a possibility that it will appear at the Olympics one day. A sweet taste for those who gather behind.

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