Hip-hop star Nelly is now the proud part-owner of American basketball team the CHARLOTTE BOBCATS.

The HOT IN HERRE (corr.) hitmaker joins BLACK ENTERTAINMENT TELEVISION (BET) founder ROBERT L JOHNSON, ex-BANK OF AMERICA CEO HUGH McCOLL JR, former basketball player ML CARR, and NASCAR racing boss FELIX SABATES on the board.

Johnson, the North Carolina team's majority owner, explains, "This is a great opportunity for both the Bobcats and Nelly.

"Nelly is a great entertainer and a smart businessman and those two traits will serve us well as we prepare to tip off our inaugural season this fall."

The Grammy winning rapper enthuses, "Of the many dreams that I have fulfilled in life, being an NBA (NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION) owner is certainly one of the biggest achievements.

"To be able to make this move with Bob Johnson and to be a part of the first-ever minority owned professional sports franchise in history is a great opportunity.

"Bob and I share the same commitment to diversity and we are both self-made, having worked up from the very bottom to reach where we are today."

20/07/2004 17:30