Boston Celtics forward Jonas Jerebko has purchased esports franchise Renegades, IMG announced in a press release Tuesday. Previously known for its League of Legends team before a ban was handed down, Renegades now has a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team and a Call of Duty team, the latter recently purchased by Jerebko.
“The opportunity to own Renegades and bring some of my knowledge from professional basketball to eSports is incredible,” Jerebko said in the release. “I grew up in the video game era, and I was exposed to Counter-Strike at a young age. I have watched the eSports world explode and, for me, it’s really exciting to be a team owner and help push the industry forward.”
ESPN’s Darren Rovell reports Jerebko intends to get Renegades back into League of Legends, as well as adding teams in Halo and Overwatch. Renegades was banned from Riot-sanctioned play after an alleged improper relationship with Challenger Series organization Team Dragon Knights and an alleged improper ownership agreement with suspended former owner Chris Badawi.
“I plan to operate our organization in the same fashion that NBA teams function – with respect and support for the players and an appreciation for the fans,” Jerebko continued. “The eSports industry is evolving, and the parallels to mainstream sports are becoming clearer. I hope my experience in sports can positively impact Renegades and, in turn, the eSports industry.”
A Swedish native, Jerebko played for the Detroit Pistons for seven years before being traded to the Celtics in February 2015. He played in 78 games last year off the bench for the Celtics, scoring 4.4 points per game with 3.7 rebounds per game. He has been a team representative for the NBA Players’ Union in his time with both teams.
Jerebko is the first current NBA player to make such a big move into the esports space, but former NBA players Rick Fox (with his team Echo Fox) and Shaquille O’Neal (with an investment in NRG Esports) have also made significant investments.