LeBron James, Kevin Durant, James Harden among NBA All-Stars joining Mitchell & Ness ownership group
Fanatics founder Michael Rubin announces expanded ownership which includes Chris Paul, CJ McCollum, Devin Booker, Joel Embiid, Odell Beckham Jr., Rich Paul and Kevin Hart, among others
After earlier this year acquiring the nostalgia athletic apparel brand Mitchell & Ness, most known for making professional league throwback jerseys, Fanatics founder Michael Rubin announced Tuesday an expanded Mitchell & Ness ownership group of sports figures that includes LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, CJ McCollum, Devin Booker, James Harden, Joel Embiid and Odell Beckham Jr.
Executives and entertainers, including Rich Paul, CEO of Klutch Sports Group; Rich Kleiman, co-founder of Thirty Five Ventures; comedian Kevin Hart; entertainment executive Scooter Braun; and Steve Stoute, founder and CEO of UnitedMasters and Translation, were also included in the strategic investment group that originally counted Roc Nation founder Jay-Z, The SpringHill Company co-founder Maverick Carter, rapper Meek Mill, the D’Amelio family, and rapper Lil Baby among its initial investors.
Originally founded in 1904 in Philadelphia by Frank Mitchell and Charles Ness, the company produced uniforms for local football and baseball teams and eventually expanded during the century to manufacture jerseys for the Philadelphia Eagles, and several NFL and MLB franchises during the 1940s.
During the late 1990s and into the 2000s, the company’s throwback jersey business exploded, thanks partly to the issue of SLAM Magazine with Philadelphia 76ers guard Allen Iverson on the cover that debuted during the NBA lockout in 1998. After posting sales of around $1.5 million before Iverson appeared on the cover in a custom royal blue 76ers jersey, the company grew to more than $23 million in revenue by 2002.
Mitchell & Ness throwback jerseys became a staple in music videos and appearances during the 2000s, with the brand extending into luxury-leaning authentic shorts and team hats with snakeskin bills during the 2010s with designer Don C.
The new Mitchell & Ness ownership group represents yet another chapter of growth for the company, as several of the key figures who helped to define and validate the brand during the early 2000s are now both investing in and helping to shape the direction of the company.
Mitchell & Ness now holds NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, and various NCAA school licenses to manufacture throwback uniforms and branded lifestyle apparel. Fanatics will now feature an ecosystem of licensed fan apparel, authenticated memorabilia, an emerging sports betting operation, and trading cards through its acquisition of Topps.