In the past year, Saudi Arabia has made offers to football players to join their local teams. Several have been approached including Cristiano Ronaldo ($220.16 million USD for two and a half years), Lionel Messi (USD $1.6 billion over three years), Karim Benzema ($643 million USD for two years) and most recently, Paris Saint-Germain’s player Kylian Mbappé who was offered a world-record transfer bid of $332 million USD.
After the refusal to speak to Saudi Arabia regarding the generous offer, NBA player Giannis Antetokounmpo took to Twitter to tell the football club, “Al-Hilal, you can take me”.
— Kylian Mbappé (@KMbappe) July 24, 2023
They got basketball leagues too right? 😱😱🏃🏿🏃🏿💨💨💨💨💨 I don’t the ink on my contract has dried up yet 🤣🤣🤣🤣
— Draymond Green (@Money23Green) July 25, 2023
“They got basketball leagues too right? I don’t [think] the ink on my contract has dried up yet,” Green tweeted.
To answer Green’s question, Saudi Arabia does, in fact, have its own league – the Saudi Basketball League and they could start reaching out to NBA players if they wanted to. The 12 member organization has recently been backed by the country’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) which is reportedly valued at over $640 billion USD.
The PIF is the same team behind the recent investments made on athletes and events including football with Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer to Al-Nassr, golf where the Saudi-backed LIV Tour has merged with the PGA and events such as Jake Paul taking on Tommy Fury.
We wouldn’t be too surprised if Saudi Arabia starts reaching out to NBA players as the sport continues to grow within the region.
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