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Naomi Osaka Buys Ownership Stake in NWSL's North Carolina Courage

Naomi Osaka isn't limiting her impressive career to the tennis court. 

On Thursday, Osaka, one of Sports Illustrated's 2020 Sportsperson of the Year recipients, announced she has purchased an ownership stake in the National Women's Soccer League's North Carolina Courage.

"The women who have invested in me growing up made me who I am today, I don't know where I would be without them. Throughout my career I've always received so much love from my fellow female athletes so that's why I am proud to share that I am now an owner of [the Courage]," Osaka said on Twitter.

Osaka, 23, becomes the first investor in the Courage since Steve Malik acquired and relocated the team to North Carolina in 2017. After the move, the club won back-to-back championships in 2018 and 2019.

Last year, Forbes named Osaka as the highest-paid female athlete in the world, earning $37.4 million in prize money and endorsements over 12 months and passing Serena Williams on the list.

In an interview with People, Osaka said she had considered investing in the NWSL for a while and the Courage emerged as a front-runner due to the team's diversity and success.

"I've been wanting to get involved with the NWSL for a while, to promote women's sports and also as a business investment because I can see it growing rapidly,” Osaka said.

"First and foremost, I really like the people running the club from top to bottom. They align so closely with my values and interests—promoting women's sports through grassroots and using the team as a platform to do good in the community."

Osaka, who is currently preparing for next month's Australian Open, said she plans to take on a strategic adviser role with the Courage following her investment.

The three-time Grand Slam tennis champion has also become a prominent social activist and used her platform to speak out on racial inequality following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in 2020. At the U.S. Open last September, she honored several victims of violence by wearing face masks bearing their names.

Osaka will find a familiar foe in the NWSL board room. Serena Williams is part of the celebrity-laden ownership group of expansion franchise Angel City FC, which begins play in NWSL in 2022.