There was a time when sports weren’t nearly as mainstream, and owning a team in a major sport basically meant you only had to be a mildly successful businessman. These days, sports franchises are worth hundreds of millions, with some of them reaching billions of dollars in estimated value. The only people that can afford these teams are already billionaires who want to pad their wallets a little more. It's almost like treating yourself to a cool new toy, be it a yacht, another luxury mansion, or a private jet. A sports team is just another possession for these owners.
Even getting a minority stake in the team involves a group of super rich investors, and a lot of these groups include A-list celebrities. Some of the highest paid celebrities are still only worth about $200 million, so they can’t purchase the teams on their own. Still, there are plenty of part ownership opportunities to be had.
So who makes the list of celebrity sports team owners? This list includes only celebrities that still have a share in the teams that they originally threw money into. There are plenty of celebrities that no longer own teams, such as George W. Bush, Jay-Z, Bob Hope and Elton John. With that said, here are 15 celebrities that currently own sports teams.
15 Magic Johnson
Earvin “Magic” Johnson is one of the biggest basketball stars of all time. As a heralded prospect out of Michigan State, he helped the Spartans win the 1979 NCAA Championship and was the first pick with the Los Angeles Lakers that same year. Johnson won five NBA Championships in Los Angeles and appeared in 12 All-Star Games and was a part of the 1992 Olympic Dream Team. Johnson is an incredibly rich man these days, and he makes up a solid portion of the group of investors that own the Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB) and Los Angeles Sparks (WNBA).
14 Drew Carey
Cleveland native Drew Carey has had plenty of successful shows during his career that started with standup comedy. His first big hit was the self titled sitcom, “The Drew Carey Show”. Carey then went on to host “Whose Line is it Anyway?” and is now hosting the long-running game show, “The Price is Right”. Carey is a minority owner for the Seattle Sounders of Major League Soccer, and the team has become the most popular in the league. Fun fact, Drew Carey is also in the WWE Hall of Fame.
13 Michael Jordan
Everyone has their pick for who the greatest basketball player of all-time is. If you ask most people in their 20s and 30s, they will likely tell you their pick is Michael Jordan. Jordan was a machine with the Chicago Bulls, winning the MVP award five times and leading Chicago to six championships. Jordan became a part-owner of the Charlotte Bobcats (now the Hornets) in 2006, and was then able to obtain controlling interest in the team just four years later. Jordan is now worth more than $1 billion.
12 Michelle Williams
When it comes to the hierarchy of the group Destiny’s Child, Michelle Williams unfortunately ranked third (with Beyonce as the clear number one). You may have not heard Williams on the radio for a few years, but she still has a successful career in the Gospel charts. Williams has also gone into stage acting, so she’s keeping herself busy. In 2006, Michelle Williams and Mathew Knowles joined a group that purchased a minority ownership of the WNBA’s Chicago Sky.
In the early 2000s, Nelly was one of the biggest names in hip-hop, starting in 2000 when he released the chart topping “Country Grammar” album. Nelly is still sticking around as a musician, even dabbling in country music. Nelly has made it clear that he’s proud of being from the city of St. Louis, but they unfortunately do not have an NBA team. Nelly became one of the co-owners of the Charlotte Bobcats (now Hornets, again) in 2004. He still owns part of the team despite Michael Jordan being the majority owner.
10 Ron Jaworski
The Philadelphia Soul is an Arena Football League team that started up in 2004, and it was owned in large part by another celebrity, singer Jon Bon Jovi. When the AFL folded in 2009 and started back up in 2010, the Soul were absent. In 2011, the Soul made their triumphant return to the AFL, being led by a Philadelphia legend, former Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski. Jaworski had been working with ESPN as an analyst, and still does to this day after getting cut from the “Monday Night Football” broadcast team.
9 Bill Murray
There are many legendary comedians, but perhaps the biggest one of all is Bill Murray. Murray got his start on “Saturday Night Live” before becoming a leading man in film, starring in classics such as “Ghostbusters”, “Groundhog Day” and the award winning “Lost in Translation”. Murray is an avid Chicago Cubs fan, but his ownership ventures lean toward independent baseball. Murray owns at least a portion of eight different baseball teams, with his largest stake coming with the St. Paul Saints.
8 Russell Crowe
Australian actor Russell Crowe has been acting for 30 years now, with most of his biggest hit movies coming in the early 2000s. Crowe won a ton of awards for his work in the films “Gladiator” and “A Beautiful Mind”. Crowe is still getting work consistently these days, and earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Crowe is a co-owner these days for an Australian National Rugby League team named the South Sydney Rabbitohs, who happen to be the defending league champions.
7 Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley
The 1970s was one of the best decades for rock ‘n’ roll music, and one of its biggest bands was KISS. KISS was different from most groups, wearing face paint, crazy outfits and put on some of the best shows in music. Two members of the group were Gene Simmons (who played bass and sang) and Paul Stanley (who played rhythm guitar and sang, as well). In 2013, it was announced that the two were part of a group that founded an AFL team in Anaheim, California that was named after their group, the LA KISS.
If you want to feel really old right now, here’s a fun fact: “My Way”, the album by Usher, was released in September of 1997. That’s right, it has been almost 18 years since Usher’s first album came out. Usher has been a staple on the charts ever since then with hits such as “U Remind Me”, “Yeah!” and “OMG”. Usher is one of the part owners for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the group that he is part of spent $375 million to buy their share of the team and was part of courting LeBron James back to the Cavs.
5 David Letterman
As far as late night television show hosts go, there were few that had the sustained success that David Letterman had. Letterman got his start in late night hosting back in 1982 on NBC before moving over to CBS for “The Late Show with David Letterman”. Letterman recently retired, with his last show coming on May 20th of this year. As an Indiana native, Letterman is big into auto racing, and currently owns a team in the United SportsCar Championship and Verizon IndyCar Series. Letterman’s team is co-owned by former racer Bobby Rahal, and known as the Rahal Letterman Lanigan racing team.
4 Bill Maher
There aren’t too many people who are as opinionated as Bill Maher. The satirical political television show host started his hosting duties on Comedy Central in 1993 with the show “Politically Incorrect” that ran until 2002. Maher then moved over to HBO and has been hosting “Real Time with Bill Maher” for the last 12 years. In 2012, Maher announced that he purchased a minority ownership in the New York Mets, with the majority owner currently being Fred Wilpon with 52 percent of the stake.
3 Justin Timberlake
The biggest musical fad of the late 1990s was the emergence of the pop boy bands. The biggest one of the time was NSYNC, and it was considered that Justin Timberlake with his ramen noodle hair was essentially the lead. Out of all of the members of the group, Timberlake is the only one with sustained solo success, dominating the charts and selling out arenas worldwide. Timberlake and his wife (Jessica Biel) are current minority owners of his favorite NBA team, the Memphis Grizzlies. The majority owner is 37-year-old Robert Pera, who founded Ubiquiti Networks.
2 Will Smith
Who ever thought the part-time rapper and part-time actor of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” would end up being one of the biggest actors in the world? Smith has had a successful career in both fields, being nominated for multiple Academy Awards and Golden Globe Awards while winning a handful of Grammy Awards at the same time. Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, purchased a minority stake in the Philadelphia 76ers in 2011. There are plenty of other co-owners of the team, including Joshua Harris, Adam Aron and David Blitzer.
1 Miami Dolphins Entourage of Stars
The Robbie family started the Miami Dolphins, and owned the team until 1993 when it was sold to Wayne Huizenga. Huizenga relinquished control of the team in 2009 to Stephen Ross, who purchased 95 percent of the franchise. The other five percent of the Miami Dolphins are owned by some random celebrities that grabbed a lot of headlines. These celebrities include Fergie (of Black Eyed Peas fame), Marc Anthony, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, and both Venus and Serena Williams. How did they all get together? The world may never know.