Throwback sports jerseys have been a staple in Hip Hop for some time now, with Philadelphia-based company Mitchell & Ness suiting up rappers and fans alike with the illest vintage jerseys. Now, they’re getting a major boost to their brand.
On Friday (February 18), Philadelphia 76ers owner Michael Rubin’s Fanatics company purchased Mitchell & Ness along with JAY-Z, Meek Mill, Lil Baby and others for an estimated $250 million, according to Complex.
The deal sees Fanatics acquiring a 75-percent ownership stake in the iconic brand, which was previously owned by Juggernaut Capital Partners. The remaining 25 percent is being shared among the other involved parties, which also includes LeBron James’ longtime business partner Maverick Carter and the TikTok-famous D’Amelio family (Charli, Dixie, Marc and Heidi).
“Fashion is cyclical, but classics are forever. Mitchell & Ness is a true classic,” JAY-Z said in a statement. “I was an early adopter of this brand, as well as a part of a departure from athletic wear. I’m proud to play a small role in bringing it back, and in some cases, introducing the authenticity and quality of the Mitchell & Ness brand to a new generation.”
Meek Mill — a Philadelphia native — took to Instagram to celebrate the news by writing, “I used to want a throwback sooooooooo bad!!!!! Now we owning ‘MITCHELL AND NESS’ I need a baseball jacket asappppppp!!!! The whole hood seeing me step by step become a BOSS STEP BY STEP! #MOTIVATION”
Fortunately for longtime fans, not much will change for Mitchell & Ness as Fanatics plans to keep it a separate entity within the Fanatics Commerce network. Michael Rubin’s company is looking to combine Mitchell & Ness’ business model with their platform, including a product portfolio expansion and increased worldwide brand recognition.
Mitchell & Ness CEO Kevin Wulff will keep his role while reporting to Joe Bozich, President of Fanatics Brands.
“I’m incredibly excited for Fanatics to partner with this incredible group of innovative owners to build upon the company’s already strong business that has kept the brand culturally relevant for more than 100 years,” Rubin said. “Growing up as a kid in Philadelphia, we looked at Mitchell & Ness as a badge of pride, and I truly believe this legendary brand has no limit.”
While JAY-Z, Meek Mill and Lil Baby have joined Mitchell & Ness’ new ownership team, J. Cole is having some fun himself with the iconic brand. On Wednesday (February 16), the Dreamville rapper unveiled a new collaboration between his Dreamers company and Mitchell & Ness.
The collection — which drops at 12 p.m. ET on Friday — includes 16 authentic throwback NBA jerseys reimagined with Dreamer branding, with fans of the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, Detroit Pistons, Phoenix Suns and more covered.
Fans may remember Cole wore pieces from the collection during his Off-Season Tour last year.