In a significant development in the world of sports and entertainment, Grammy-nominated rapper J. Cole has become a part-owner of the Charlotte Hornets, an NBA team. The news comes as basketball legend Michael Jordan finalizes the sale of his majority stake in the team, ending his 13-year tenure as the majority owner.
The new ownership group, led by Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall, includes J. Cole and country music star Eric Church, both natives of North Carolina. Plotkin, a minority owner of the Hornets since 2019, is the founder and chief investment officer of an investment firm. Schnall, co-president of a private equity company, is expected to finalize the sale of his investment in the Atlanta Hawks in the coming weeks.
The sale, which is subject to approval by the NBA Board of Governors, includes the Greensboro Swarm, the NBA G League affiliate of the Hornets, and Hornets Venom GT, the affiliated NBA 2K League esports team. Jordan is expected to retain a minority share and continue to oversee basketball operations through the NBA draft and the start of free agency.
The Hornets, valued at an estimated $1.7 billion, have had a mediocre on-court performance in recent years, not making the playoffs since the 2015-2016 season. Despite this, Jordan’s legacy as an owner is marked by his decision to bring back the beloved Hornets name to Charlotte in 2013.
The sale of the Hornets is part of a series of early moves in what is expected to be an eventful NBA offseason. With new ownership set to take over, changes are anticipated, including potential replacements for general manager Mitch Kupchak and head coach Steve Clifford.
The involvement of J. Cole, known for his passion for basketball, adds a unique dimension to the Hornets’ ownership. The rapper’s entry into NBA ownership underscores the growing intersection of sports, music, and entertainment, and marks a new chapter for the Charlotte Hornets.