2 Chainz’s latest business venture appropriately combines his passions for sports, entrepreneurship and his hometown.
The Rap or Go to the League artist announced today that he is a minority owner in the Atlanta Hawks’ NBA G League affiliate, the College Park Skyhawks. The team’s ownership group is led by principal owner Tony Ressler and vice chair of the board (and retired NBA star) Grant Hill.
“All I can think about is some of the job opportunities I can offer to the community by just being on the ground and being accessible,” 2 Chainz tells Billboard phone ahead of a press conference at North Clayton High School. The rapper attended North Clayton before playing basketball at Alabama State University.
Formerly the Erie Bayhawks based in Erie, Pennsylvania, the College Park Skyhawks will call the new Gateway Center in College Park home as of the 2019-2020 season. Deposits for inaugural season tickets are $25 dollars, and come with a limited edition black t-shirt that features the College Park Skyhawks branding and, of course, two chains.
2 Chainz says he was first approached about becoming a minority owner of the team three years ago.
“When the new owners took over a couple years ago, they had a conversation with me in the locker room during halftime [of an Atlanta Hawks game about] some of the things they wanted to do in the community to make their presence felt, do some uplifting and [get] more fan awareness,” Chainz relates.
2 Chainz, who has performed twice as a part of the Atlanta Hawks halftime concert series and is a frequent supporter of the team, says he’ll definitely be visible at Skyhawks games once the season kicks off.
Steve Koonin, Atlanta Hawks CEO, expresses press release that 2 Chainz having ownership in the team lends immediate credibility and a sense of identity to the Skyhawks. “There’s a lot of sports in Atlanta between the Falcons, Braves, United and [Georgia] Bulldogs, [Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets] and the Hawks," Koonin explains. “One of the thoughts here is, 'How do you break through, and how do you talk to a specific audience?'”
“It dawned on us that if we’re going to represent in that area, wouldn’t it be great to have a partner who is from there, who goes back to that area and who has become big time?” he continues. “To have a pro sports team come into College Park and to have College Park’s son be a part of that, I think it’s a big deal for him, and it certainly is for us.”
2 Chainz says he released Rap or Go to the League earlier this year as a way to inspire other black men and let them know that they have more options than just being an athlete or an entertainer. The rapper, who has been praised for his marketing strategies and album rollouts, says the timing of the announcement, following the release of his aptly titled album earlier this year, was unplanned.
“My album is called Rap or Go to the League, and then you look up and here I am a minority owner of a team that’s closely associated to the league -- but I don’t think you can plan that,” Chainz says. “I think that’s all God.”