LeBron James, Kevin Durant and James Harden are among the NBA All-Stars joining Mitchell & Ness-owned group Andscape
After Fanatics founder Michael Rubin acquired nostalgic sportswear brand Mitchell & Ness earlier this year, best known for making pro league throwback jerseys, today announced an expanded Mitchell & Ness ownership group of sports figures, which 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, Rich Kleiman, Kevin Hart, Scooter Braun and Steve Stoute have also been added to the strategic investment group, which originally included Jay-Z, Maverick Carter, Meek Mill, the D’Amelio family and Lil Baby Under the first investors.
Originally founded in Philadelphia in 1904 by Frank Mitchell and Charles Ness, the company produced uniforms for local football and baseball teams and expanded over the century to eventually make jerseys for their local Philadelphia Eagles, along with several NFL and MLB franchises in the 1940s.
In the late 1990s and into the new millennium, the throwback jersey business exploded, thanks in part to an Allen Iverson cover of SLAM Magazine that debuted in 1998 during the NBA lockout. After generating roughly $1.5 million in sales before Iverson showed up in a custom Royal Blue 76ers jersey with “PHILA” written on the front, the company grew to over $23 million in sales by 2002 .
Since then, Mitchell & Ness retro jerseys became a staple in music videos and performances in the 2000s, with the brand teaming up with designer Don C.
For the past decade, NBA teams have routinely included throwback jerseys in their uniform rotations during the regular season and playoffs.
The new Mitchell & Ness ownership group represents another growth chapter for the company as several of the key figures who helped define and validate the brand in the early 2000’s now both invest in the company and help shape the shape the direction of the company.
Going forward, Mitchell & Ness holds NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS and various NCAA school licenses to manufacture retro uniforms and branded lifestyle apparel. Within the Fanatics ecosystem of esports businesses, with the acquisition of Topps, the overall company now has an ecosystem of licensed fan apparel, authenticated memorabilia, a burgeoning sportsbook silo and trading cards.