Houston Rockets superstar James Harden has purchased a minority stake in the investment group that controls MLS' Houston Dynamo, the NWSL's Houston Dash and BBVA Stadium, the Dynamo announced on Thursday.
"I'm very excited about the opportunity to join the ownership group of the Houston Dynamo and Houston Dash and proud to be a part of a club with tremendous history and a great future," Harden said in a statement issued on the Dynamo's website.
"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. I've been a fan of the game for several years, and I know that Houston has a massive soccer fanbase, so it was an easy decision for me when this opportunity arose."
Front Office Sports was among the first report the transaction, adding that the Rockets star has purchased a 5% stake. According to the outlet, the overall valuation of the Dynamo, Dash and BBVA Stadium -- where the Dynamo and Dash play their home games -- is "at least $475 million."
The seven-time NBA All-Star signed a guaranteed $228 million contract with the Rockets in 2017. He joins an ownership group that includes majority owner Gabriel Brener, boxing legend and promoter Oscar De La Hoya, White Deer Energy managing partner Ben Guill and Portland, Oregon-based investor Jake Silverstein. All are expected to remain in the Dynamo/Dash/BBVA Stadium investor group.
"We are thrilled to welcome James into our club. He's an icon in the Houston community, and not only is he a great basketball player, he has an extremely smart and savvy mind for business," Brener said. "James will bring a very unique perspective to our ownership group, and I'm looking forward to hearing his thoughts and opinions on the club going forward."
De La Hoya, who founded Golden Boy Promotions in 2002, said Harden's success as an athlete will help him in business as well.
"James is already at the top of the game in his sport, so it's only natural to want to take on new challenges beyond the court," De La Hoya said. "He knows the drive and the determination it takes to be the absolute best, and I'm excited that he's going to bring that attitude to our club."
Brener acquired controlling interest in the Dynamo from previous owners AEG in 2015 after first investing in the Dynamo in 2008. BBVA Stadium opened in 2012 and the ownership group later bought into the NWSL in 2013.