Celebrities and sports have always been linked together. Musicians and movie stars date the most famous athletes. Athletes certainly become celebrities in their own right. They get major endorsement deals, date the richest models, and can even appear in movies and on TV. Often, celebs will support their sports team by attending events. Celebrities are often spotted sitting court side, behind the dugout, or on the goal line. In fact, it doesn’t matter how famous a celeb is because when they’re supporting their teams, they turn into the most die-hard fans. They eat tons of junk food, cheer like crazy, and boo when their team loses. They become just like every screaming fan in that arena or stadium. In that very moment, nothing else in the world matters to them. They don’t care about their next film, high profile breakup, or latest gossip headline. All they care about in that moment is their team scoring that tying run, gaining the yards, or winning the major championship.
Many celebrities will invest their hard-earned money in several different projects. Some celebs have so much money that they don’t even know what to do with it all. The smart ones will invest in something they’re passionate about. The really smart ones invest in their beloved sports team. This way, they can have a piece of the team they support more than anything. Many celebs are proud owners of some of the most famous sports teams and franchises in the world. Here is a look at 15 Celebs You Didn’t Know Own a Sports Franchise.
15 Nelly - Charlotte Bobcats
At one point, it became very trendy for rappers to own a sports teams. In the early 2000s, Nelly decided to join that list. Nelly is best known for the number one international hit singles “Dilemma” and “Hot in Here.” He has released several chart-topping albums, such as Country Grammar, Nellyville, and Sweat, Suit. He also appeared in the film The Longest Yard starring Adam Sandler and Chris Rock. Nelly has worked with several of the top brands, such as Nike, Reebok, and the Ford Motor Company. He also has his own clothing lines–Apple Bottom and Vokal.
In 2004, Nelly joined the ownership group of the NBA team Charlotte Bobcats. At the time, Robert L. Johnson headed up the group. NBA legend and icon, Michael Jordan, also had a minority stock in the team. In 2010, Michael Jordan became the majority owner of the team. It was around this time that Nelly sold his stake in the Bobcats. The Bobcats have since been renamed the Charlotte Hornets.
14 Jennifer Lopez And Marc Anthony - Miami Dolphins
A celebrity divorce is slightly different from a regular divorce. In a celebrity divorce, they must decide who gets the home, the vacation home, the yacht, and the NFL franchise. In 2004, Jennifer Lopez married Marc Anthony in one of the most highly anticipated weddings. Marc Anthony has released several critically and commercially acclaimed albums, such as Marc Anthony, Libre, Amar Sin Mentiras, and 3.0. JLo has also released several popular albums, including On the 6, J.Lo, and Rebirth. Additionally, she starred in the films Selena, Out of Sight, and The Wedding Planner.
In 2009, Marc Anthony and JLo purchased minority ownership of the NFL team the Miami Dolphins. Stephen M. Ross is the principal owner of the Dolphins. In 2012, Anthony filed for divorce with it being finalized in 2014. JLo retained primary physical custody of their two children. Marc Anthony got the Miami Dolphins in the divorce and remains an owner of the team.
13 Gene Simmons & Paul Stanley - Los Angeles Kiss
Kiss is widely regarded as one of the greatest bands of all time. Kiss is known for its phenomenal music and outstanding branding. Kiss was officially formed in 1973 and consisted of Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Peter Criss, and Ace Frehley. The band was known for their elaborate live performances, which included pyro, rockets, smoking guitars, levitating drums, and fire-breathing. They released a plethora of incredible albums, such as Kiss, Hotter Than Hell, and Dressed To Kill.
In 2013, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley became part owners of the LA Kiss of the Arena Football League. Attending an LA Kiss game was very similar to attending a Kiss concert. During the games, the Kiss logo was all over the field and arena. There was also a Kiss Girls dance squad dressed in all-black. Throughout the games, there was pyrotechnics and music. Each game started with an electric guitar version of The Star-Spangled Banner. In 2016, the LA Kiss folded and ceased operations.
12 Jon Bon Jovi - Philadelphia Soul
Jon Bon Jovi is a singer, songwriter, philanthropist, and founder of an Arena Football League team. There truly is nothing he can’t do. He is best known as founder of the iconic rock band Bon Jovi. Bon Jovi is one of the best-selling artists of all time and has released several universally praised albums, including New Jersey, Keep the Faith, and These Days. Jon Bon Jovi also released two solo albums Blaze of Glory – Young Guns II and Destination Anywhere.
In 2004, Jon Bon Jovi headed up a group of investors that founded the AFL team Philadelphia Soul. Other members of the group included Richie Sambora and Ron Jaworski. In 2008, the Philadelphia Soul won the Arena Bowl championship. The AFL ceased operations in 2009 but resumed in 2011. The Soul was invited to return. However, Jon Bon Jovi was the only owner not to return. He does continue to support the team. In 2014, Jon Bon Jovi worked with members of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment in an attempt to purchase the NFL’s Buffalo Bills but they were outbid.
11 David Letterman - Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
David Letterman is best known for his 33-year run as a late night television host. First, he served as host for Late Night with David Letterman on NBC from 1982 to 1993. He then hosted Late Show with David Letterman from 1993 to 2015 on CBS. He has hosted roughly 6,028 episodes. He surpassed his mentor and friend Johnny Carson as the longest tenure late night host. He also launched his own production company, Worldwide Pants, which produced The Late Show, The Late Late Show with Crag Ferguson, and Everybody Loves Raymond.
In 1997, Lettermen purchased a minority share in Bobby Rahal’s racing team, Team Rahal. Bobby Rahal and Letterman have been longtime good friends. Bobby Rahal won the 1986 Indianapolis 500. They later changed the team name to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. Bobby Rahal, Mike Lanigan, and David Letterman own the team. In 2004, the team won the Indianapolis 500 with driver Bobby Rice.
10 Conan O’Brien - UFC
Conan O’Brien is currently the longest tenured late night TV host that is still hosting. In total, he’s been hosting late night TV for roughly 23 years. He hosted Late Night with Conan O’Brien on NBC from 1993 to 2009. From 2009 to 2010, he hosted The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien but left the show after a controversial host change. He currently hosts Conan on TBS. Early in his career, he wrote for both Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons.
In 2016, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was sold to WME-IMG for $4 Billion. In the process, 23 celebrities all purchased a stake in the company. Conan O’Brien now has ownership in the UFC. When he made the announcement on his show, he joked that he’d soon be stepping into the Octagon. Other celebrity owners include Mark Wahlberg, Tom Brady, Adam Levine, Serena & Venus Williams, LL Cool J, and Ben Affleck.
9 Fergie - Miami Dolphins
It appears that celebrities and the Miami Dolphins are simply meant for each other. They’re like two lovers that were always destined for each other no matter how well the Dallas Cowboys did. In 2009, several celebs purchased ownership in the Dolphins, including Gloria & Emilio Estefan, The Williams Sisters, and Marc Anthony & Jennifer Lopez. Fergie can also be added to the impressive list. Fergie had her big breakthrough when she joined the Black Eyed Peas. With the Black Eyed Peas, she released the hit single “Where is the Love?” They released several enormously popular albums, including Elephunk, Monkey Business, and The E.N.D. Later, she embarked on a wildly successful solo career and released the albums The Dutchess and Double Dutchess.
In October of 2009, Fergie became a part owner of the Miami Dolphins. At the time, several celebs had a minority ownership in the Dolphins. Fergie was one of the first celebs to buy a piece of the team.
8 Jay Z - Brooklyn Nets
The 21-time Grammy Award-winning Jay Z is one of the best-selling musicians of all time. Jay Z is involved in so many different projects and business ventures that he probably owns a tiny planet somewhere. He probably also owns the NBA team of that tiny planet. Jay Z is widely regarded as one of the greatest MCs of all time. He has released numerous commercially acclaimed groundbreaking albums, including Reasonable Doubt, The Blueprint, and The Black Album. In 2014, Forbes estimated that he was one of the richest artists in the US.
In 2004, Jay Z joined a group of investors in purchasing the New Jersey Nets for $300 million, which was headed up by Brooklyn developer Bruce Ratner. They relocated to Jay Z’s home of Brooklyn and became the Brooklyn Nets. However, in 2013, he sold his stake in the team to launch a sports agency, Roc Nation Sports. Jay Z is a certified MLB and NBA agent.
7 Usher - Cleveland Cavaliers
Usher can do it all. He can sing, dance, and partly own a winning NBA professional basketball team. Usher is considered one of the best-selling solo artists of the 2000’s. He is involved with several different projects and business ventures. The 8-time Grammy Award-winning Usher has released several albums, including My Way, 8701, Confessions, Here I Stand, and Raymond v. Raymond. Usher launched his own record label, Raymond Braun Media, which includes Justin Bieber. Usher also starred in the films The Faculty, She’s All That, and In The Mix. He also has his own fragrance line and works with MasterCard and Samsung.
In 2005, Usher and a group of investors purchased the NBA team Cleveland Cavaliers for $375 million. The group of investors includes Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert. In 2016, the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Championship for the very first time.
6 Serena & Venus Williams - Miami Dolphins
Serena and Venus Williams do everything together. They have competed against each other, with each other, and own an NFL team together. The Williams Sisters are arguably two of the greatest tennis players of all time. Serena Williams is a 23-time Grand Slam winner and Venus is a 7-time Grand Slam winner. The sisters also have a well-known rivalry and have played against each other 28 times in professional tournaments. They most recently played in the finals of the 2017 Australian Open, which was won by Serena. They also compete in doubles tournaments and have won several titles. They won three Gold Medals in doubles at the 2000, 2008, and 2012 Summer Olympics.
In 2009, it seemed that just about every celeb was purchasing minority ownership in the Miami Dolphins. The Williams Sisters became part owners of the Dolphins around this time. They became the first African-American females to have ownership in an NFL team.
5 Justin Timberlake & Jessica Biel - Memphis Grizzles
Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel have taken their relationship to the next level. It’s a common tradition that after getting married and starting a family, the next logical step is to own an NBA team. Singer and actor Justin Timberlake is best known for his several critically and commercially acclaimed albums–Justified, FutureSex/LoveSounds, and The 20/20 Experience. He also starred in the films Alpha Dog, Bad Teacher, and The Social Network. Jessica Biel had her big break with her starring role on 7th Heaven. She also starred in the films The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The A-Team. Timberlake and Biel were married in 2012 at a resort in Italy.
Justin Timberlake was born in Memphis so it makes sense he’d support his team. Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel are minority owners in the NBA team Memphis Grizzles. Robert Pera is the owner of the Grizzles. They made their debuts as minority owners during the 2012 season. They sat front row at the FedEx Forum as the Grizzles faced the L.A. Lakers.
4 Elton John - Watford F.C.
Elton John is considered one of the best-selling artists in the world. However, he is an even bigger football (soccer) fan than he is a best-selling artist. Elton John released several albums, including Elton John, Madman Across the Water, and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. He also composed the music for the Disney animated blockbuster film The Lion King. He composed the music for both the film and Broadway musical. He has won 5 Grammy Awards and an Academy Award.
Clearly, music is very near and dear to his heart. However, he has a deep love for football and it has a special place in his heart too. He grew up a huge fan of the Watford F.C. From 1976 to 1987, he was the principal owner of the Watford F.C. He was the club chairman and director. After selling the club, he still remained the president. He re-purchased the club in 1997 and sold it again in 2002. He is now the Watford F.C.’s honorary life President and had a stand named after him at the club’s stadium in 2014.
3 Will Smith & Jada Pinkett-Smith - Philadelphia 76ers
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith are one of the richest and most powerful couples in Hollywood. They married in 1997 and have two children, Willow and Jaden. Will Smith started his career as a rapper known as Fresh Prince. Later, he starred in the NBC series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He also starred in several memorable films, such as Men In Black, The Pursuit of Happiness, Ali, Suicide Squad, and Concussion. Jada Pinkett-Smith is best known for her appearances in A Different World and Gotham. Additionally, she starred in the films The Nutty Professor, Menace II Society, and Scream 2. The Smith family is involved in several different business ventures and projects.
In 2011, Will and Jada bought minority ownership in the NBA team The Philadelphia 76ers. Joshua Harris is the principal owner of the 76ers. He is also the principal owner of the NHL team the New Jersey Devils. Will Smith is a big fan of the 76ers and was born and raised in Philadelphia. On the playground is where he spent most of his days.
2 Will Ferrell - Los Angeles FC
Will Ferrell is known for being one of the funniest people alive. Will Ferrell is a comedian and actor, and now can add 'team owner' to that list. Will Ferrell had his big breakthrough as a cast member on Saturday Night Live in the mid-90’s. He quickly became one of the highlights of the series. He went on to star in several memorable and popular comedies, such as Anchorman, Elf, Old School, and Talladega Nights. He also launched the website Funny or Die with Adam McKay. Additionally, he was the co-producer of the series Eastbound and Down starring Danny McBride.
In 2016, it was announced that Will Ferrell is one of the owners of the Major League Soccer team the Los Angeles FC. The Los Angeles FC is a new expansion team that will start playing in 2018. The ownership team is lead by venture capitalist Henry Nguyen, former NBA executive Tom Penn, and entrepreneur Peter Guber. Will Ferrell is one of the several owners, which also includes Magic Johnson and Mia Hamm.
1 Michael Jordan - Charlotte Hornets
The iconic Michael Jordan is widely regarded as the greatest player in the history of NBA. He has played 15 seasons in the NBA mostly for the Chicago Bulls and two seasons with the Washington Wizards. Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to 6 NBA championships. He has won the Most Valuable Player Awards on 5 separate occasions. He’s credited with helping to explode the popularity of the NBA all over the world. In 1985, Nike and Jordan released the Nike Air Jordan Sneakers, which are still in great demand today. He also starred as himself in the live action/animated film Space Jam. Michael Jordan retired for the third and final time in 2003.
In 2006, he purchased a minority stake in the Charlotte Bobcats. At the time, the majority owner was Robert Johnson. Jordan took control of basketball operations. In 2010, he purchased a majority stake in the Bobcats and became the principal owner. Later, the team changed their team name to the Charlotte Hornets. Michael Jordan is the first former player to be a majority owner of an NBA team. He is also the only African-American NBA franchise majority owner.
Sources: Sports Illustrated