YouTube partners NBA star Kevin Durant to boost original sports programming

YouTube has teamed up with creative development and media company Thirty Five Media to work closely with athletes, helping them launch their own YouTube channels. The partnership also involves creating new and innovative sports programming as a development partner for YouTube.

Thirty Five Media is owned by National Basketball Association (NBA) player Kevin Durant (pictured left) and Rich Kleiman. Among the list of athletes that have launched YouTube channels with the help of Thirty Five Media include NBA players Karl-Anthony Towns (pictured right), Nick Young and JaVale McGee, as well as National Football League player Richard Sherman.

YouTube declined to comment on the monetary value of the partnership.

The partnership comes after Thirty Five media saw "breakout success" with its initial YouTube project - the launch of Durant's channel last April. The channel offered fans insight into his life behind the scenes of his journey towards his first NBA championship. His YouTube channel will remain the flagship project for YouTube and Thirty Five Media, featuring new weekly content and new series launches.

YouTube chief product officer Neal Mohan said he was "extremely impressed" by the Thirty Five Media team in how it has rapidly embraced YouTube, engaged the community and offered valuable feedback on features to closely connect content creators and fans.

“I’m excited to see them apply this expertise to help other athletes replicate this success on YouTube," Mohan said.

 “It was natural for me to want to show other athletes what they can achieve on YouTube and to ensure my Thirty Five Media team and I can be a resource for those athletes," Durant said. He added that he has had an "incredible experience" on YouTube engaging with fans worldwide and sharing different parts of his life.

Kleiman added that the possibilities of the partnership go "far beyond" traditional social media and there is a huge opportunity for branded content, as well as better one-to-one fan engagement for athletes on YouTube.