“I’m still interested in getting a small percentage of an NFL or NBA team,” he shared during an episode of Uninterrupted’s Certified Buckets podcast when asked his stance on making a sports investment move. “I’d just invest in the Heat because we got some beautiful additions. And like I say I’m one of those people that can look three seasons ahead… I’m confident, we’ll bring them big trophies back.”
This isn’t the first time Ross has expressed interest in investing in sports teams. As AfroTech reported, he expressed an interest in the Los Angeles Clippers in 2014. Back then, both Ross and Diddy were eyeing the possibility of buying the team but ultimately lost out to Steve Ballmer’s $2 billion offer.
Currently, there are only six people of color with ownership across all three major U.S. sports — Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the National Football League (NFL). And according to a study conducted by the Institute of Diversity and Ethics in Sports, 83 percent of NBA players, 69 percent of NFL players, and 38 percent of MLB players are all people of color, yet the representation simply is not there when it comes to ownership within the sports.
While we still have a long way to go before we see full Black equity in sports, these eight celebrities and their stake in various sports teams prove we are, at least, on the way.
Jay-Z is one of the few celebrities that buy and sell ownership stakes in sports teams like most people buy and sell baseball cards. In 2004, he purchased shares in the Brooklyn Nets for $1 million a share and sold those shares in 2013 when he launched Roc Nation Sports. Most recently, NJ.com reported that Hova was on the shortlist to buy stakes in the Denver Broncos (which he would do alongside Jeff Bezos if the deal was successful). He also expressed interest in buying an ownership stake in the Washington Football Team.
Will Smith & Jada Pinkett Smith
Will Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, own a minority stake in the Philadelphia 76ers NBA team. Their minority stake was acquired back in 2011, according to the Associated Press, and they were part of a list of buyers that included “co-managing owner David Blitzer, former NBA player agent and Sacramento Kings executive Jason Levien, GSI Commerce CEO Michael Rubin, real estate investors, [and] film producers.” The purchase was led by Joshua Harris of New York.
In 2004, Cleveland19 reported that Usher had purchased a minority stake in the Cleveland Cavaliers, in an effort to push NBA games to an “urban” crowd. (Okay…) This obviously only increased Usher’s net worth to a staggering $180 million, and according to Fansided, he paid $9 million for a 1 percent (roughly) share of the team.
In January 2000, Michael Jordan became a 10 percent owner of the Washington Wizards. He followed that up with a 12 percent ownership stake in the Washington Capitals. He gave up the ownership of both in 2001 to return to the court, according to Sportscasting. But he didn’t stop his ownership streak there.
“In March 2010, Jordan became the majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, after four years as part of the team’s ownership group and its Managing Member of Basketball Operations. Jordan is the first former player to become the majority owner of an NBA franchise,” reads his bio on the Charlotte Hornets’ page. No wonder the man has a $1.6 billion net worth.
In July 2020, AfroTech revealed that Serena Williams was among the founding investors of Los Angeles’ soon-to-be professional women’s soccer team, Angel City. Other investors included Alexis Ohanian Sr. (Serena’s husband), Jennifer Garner, Eva Longoria and more. But what was most interesting is that Serena’s daughter with Ohanian, Olympia, was also an investor in the team — thus making the little girl the youngest-ever owner of a professional sports team.
In 2012, Magic Johnson made history when he became a co-owner of an MLB team, the Los Angeles Dodgers. According to his official bio on the Dodgers’ page, he also “co-owns the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA and Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Football Club.”
Back in 2004, Nelly followed in Michael Jordan’s footsteps and became a minority owner in the Charlotte Bobcats, according to Billboard. The team, today, is known as the Charlotte Hornets.
In 2006, the former Destiny’s Child singer announced that she was a co-owner of the WNBA team, the Chicago Sky.
“I’m thrilled to have a stake in the WNBA as it expands into my hometown with the Chicago Sky,” Williams said. “It’s great to be part of an organization such as the WNBA that is not only exciting and fun but fosters a strong sense of empowerment in girls and women. I’m looking forward to being in the front row at Chicago Sky games and cheering them on to many championship seasons.”