First it was Bentleys, then it was bling, now it's basketball teams. Part-ownership of an NBA team is the new hip-hop status symbol, and Nelly is the latest subscriber to the trend.
Earlier this year, Jay-Z became the first rapper to hold interest in an NBA team when he took part-ownership of the New Jersey Nets (see "Nets Accept Bid From Jay-Z Group; Brooklyn Move Closer"). Now Nelly has joined the ownership group of Bobcats Basketball Holdings, LLC, which owns and operates NBA expansion team the Charlotte Bobcats.
"Of the many dreams that I have fulfilled in life, being an NBA owner is certainly one of the biggest achievements," Nelly said in a statement released by the Bobcats. "To be able to make this move with [majority owner Robert L. Johnson], and to be a part of the first-ever minority-owned professional sports franchise in history, is a great opportunity."
Members of the ownership group also include former NBA player and executive M.L. Carr, NASCAR racing teams owner Felix Sabates, and former CEO of Bank of America, Hugh McColl. The ownership group of Bobcats Basketball Holdings, LLC also owns the Charlotte Sting of the WNBA and C-SET (Carolinas Sports Entertainment Television).
Financial terms were not disclosed, according to the release.
"This is a great opportunity for both the Bobcats and Nelly," said Johnson. "Nelly is a great entertainer and a smart businessman, and those two traits will serve us well as we prepare to tip off our inaugural season this fall."
The Charlotte Bobcats kick off their debut season in November.
"Bob and I share the same commitment to diversity, and we are both self-made, having worked up from the very bottom to reach where we are today," Nelly said. "I look forward to learning about the business of professional sports ownership from him, and I also look forward to meeting the Bobcats fans and becoming an active member of the Charlotte community in the future."