July 19, 2004 – Nelly, the internationally-acclaimed entertainer, has joined the ownership group of Bobcats Basketball Holdings, LLC, which owns and operates the Charlotte Bobcats of the National Basketball Association, the Charlotte Sting of the Women’s National Basketball Association and C-SET (Carolinas Sports Entertainment Television), it was announced today by majority owner Robert L. Johnson.
Nelly, a three-time Grammy Award winner, will add his role as a member of the Bobcats ownership group to a growing list of entrepreneurial endeavors he is involved with in the worlds of entertainment, sports and fashion.
“This is a great opportunity for both the Bobcats and Nelly,” said Johnson. “I have continuously said that the goal of the Bobcats organization is to win the hearts and minds of the Charlotte community through a commitment to excellence on the court and a commitment to an engaging entertainment experience in everything else we do, from halftime performances to a range of events in the new arena. 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 and move uptown to the new arena in the fall of 2005.”
"Of the many dreams that I have fulfilled in life, being an NBA owner is certainly one of the biggest achievements,” said Nelly. “To be able to make this move with Bob Johnson, and to be a part of the first-ever minority owned professional sports franchise in history, is a great opportunity. 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. 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.”
Financial terms were not disclosed.
Nelly joins an impressive ownership group that includes local civic and business leaders within and outside the Charlotte community.
Bobcats Basketball Holdings, LLC, includes majority owner Robert L. Johnson; Bank of America Corporation and Wachovia Corporation, two of the nation’s leading financial institutions and both headquartered in Charlotte; Skipper Beck, partner in Beck Automotive Group; North Carolina native and former NBA player and executive M. L. Carr; Astri Group partners Carlos & Jorge de Cespedes, owners of the Miami-based Pharmed Group, the largest, minority-owned distributor of health care products in the United States; Howard Levine, Chairman & CEO of Family Dollar Stores; Hugh McColl, Jr., chairman of McColl Partners and former CEO of Bank of America; Nelly, award-winning entertainer/entrepreneur; Felix Sabates, owner of NASCAR Winston Cup racing teams and the Charlotte Checkers minor league hockey club, and chairman of Trinity Yachts, the largest yacht builder in America; Nelson Schwab III, co-founder of Carousel Capital; Anderson Warlick, CEO of leading textile manufacturer Parkdale Mills; Ed Weisiger, Jr., President/CEO of Carolina Tractor; and the Professional Sports Investment Group led by managing partners Rev. Claude Alexander of University Park Baptist Church and Dr. Spurgeon Webber III, owner of a prominent local dental practice.
The Charlotte Bobcats will tip off their inaugural season in November 2004 at the Charlotte Coliseum before moving to Charlotte’s new Uptown Arena beginning with the 2005-06 NBA season. The Charlotte Sting are in their eighth season in the WNBA and will play at the Charlotte Coliseum through the summer of 2005, moving to the new uptown Arena in summer 2006. C-SET will officially launch on air in October 2004.