Aug 4, 2023 - Music

How country music star Eric Church became a Charlotte Hornets owner

Eric Church performed in a Hornets shirt at CMA Fest days before he was announced as part of the new ownership group. Photo: Terry Wyatt/WireImage

Eric Church is among the 20 new owners of the Charlotte Hornets. Some of them, like Church and fellow North Carolinian J. Cole, are more well-known than the others.

State of play: The sale of Michael Jordan’s majority ownership stake was finalized this week (Jordan retains a minority share).

  • Church was among the new owners in attendance at a recent introductory press conference in Uptown led by Rick Schnall, new co-chairman of Hornets Sports and Entertainment.

Zoom out: Church is such a huge basketball fan he canceled a concert last year to watch North Carolina play Duke in the Final Four. Many of you reading this know he’s a Tar Heels fan.

Zoom in: Jordan, along with Hornets president and vice chairman Fred Whitfield and then-managing partner Curtis Polk, approached Church about joining the new ownership group, Church said.

  • “They were looking for some local people that love basketball and had a shared sense of community, which I think is really important,” Church said. “That’s what I’m at least trying to bring to this.”
  • “That’s kind of where this started,” Church said, adding he had met Jordan and played golf with him in Florida.
  • Of note: Whitfield remains with the Hornets; Polk no longer has an active role with the team, a spokesperson confirmed.

The bottom line: Church, who grew up with the original Hornets and rocked one of those old-school purple and teal Starter jackets, is living the dream of his 11-year-old self.

  • “If you had told 11-year-old me that I would get to be part of the Hornets ownership group and that it would be purchased from … the GOAT [Jordan], I would never have thought that would be a remote possibility,” Church told reporters. “It’s a dream come true for me.”
(From left) A few members of the new ownership group: Chris Shumway, Rick Schnall, Gabe Plotkin, Eric Church, Damian Mills and Ian Loring. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
(From left) A few members of the new ownership group: Chris Shumway, Rick Schnall, Gabe Plotkin, Eric Church, Damian Mills and Ian Loring. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
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