Cardinals legend Larry Fitzgerald talks pro pickleball investment in Arizona

Jan 24, 2023, 9:05 AM

Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Phelps team together against the pros during the Carvana PPA Desert Ri...

Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Phelps team together against the pros during the Carvana PPA Desert Ridge Open exhibition match at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Racquet Center on January 28, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Bruce Yeung/Getty Images)

(Photo by Bruce Yeung/Getty Images)

The rapidly growing sport of pickleball in the Valley has resulted in themed restaurants, facilities and new courts all over the metro. Now it’s time for Arizona’s pro pickleball team to swing into action.

Major League Pickleball is making its professional debut in Arizona this weekend with the AZ Drive team competing in its inaugural season at the Margaritaville Tournament at Bell Bank Park in southeast Mesa from Jan. 26-29.

The pickleball fever caught one of the AZ Drive’s prominent investors, former Arizona Cardinals great Larry Fitzgerald Jr. He is one of several investors in the team which includes some of the state’s biggest names in sports and business.

Fitzgerald remembers going to the park to play pickleball during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. He played with his friends and then his children wanted to play. That was enough for Fitzgerald to build a pickleball court in the backyard of his Paradise Valley home, which meant playing late into the night with his kids.

“From all ages, all races — it’s a really inclusive game. It gets people active in an environment where it’s conducive to banter, talking a little trash and having some fun with family and friends,” Fitzgerald said.

This story is posted in partnership with Phoenix Business Journal. Click to read the exclusive interview with Fitzgerald and learn of another high-profile investor added to the AZ Drive pickleball team at Phoenix Business Journal.

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