The Carolina Panthers are one of the NFL’s newest teams, relatively speaking. A 1995 expansion franchise who will celebrate their 30th anniversary next year, they’ve largely managed to buck the expectations for newer clubs, making a pair of Super Bowls in their short history and winning at a much higher rate than most other recently established teams.
With great success comes popularity, and maybe that’s part of why the Panthers haven’t struggled to bring in fans like other expansion clubs have.
Here’s a look at some of the most famous fans in the history of the Carolina Panthers, including what drew them to the team and how they’ve repped the Carolina blue, black, and silver colors to an international audience.
It would be impossible to make this list without including one of the Tar Heel State’s favored sons. Steph Curry was born in 1988, the same year that his father and namesake Dell Curry started playing for the Charlotte Hornets of the NBA.
While the Carolina Panthers wouldn’t be born for another seven years, Dell spent the vast majority of his playing career in the Queen City: through the end of the 1998 season, when young Steph turned 10 years old. The family stayed in Charlotte following Dell’s playing days, as Steph went to prep school at Charlotte Christian, later beginning a major athletic career of his own in the region when he played college basketball for the Davidson Wildcats.
Somewhere along the line Steph became a Panthers fan, and he’s maintained that allegiance to this day—he’s no LeBron James, rooting for different teams as it suits him.
Curry had a hand in one of the Panthers’ best seasons to date, their 15-1 campaign in 2015, when he hit the team’s iconic “Keep Pounding” drum moments before they took the field for Super Bowl 50.
Although it’s been far from easy going for the Panthers during the past few seasons, as sportsbooks and the upcomings North Carolina Betting Promo Codes that go with them rank the club as one of the worst heading in to 2024, Curry remains confident that the team will make their way through those struggles and become the cream of the crop once again.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that DaBaby is on this list, as the 32 year old rapper has made his Charlotte upbringing a major part of his rap persona. Funnily enough, DaBaby wasn’t born in the Tar Heel State: he lived in Cleveland, Ohio until he turned six years old, but the Browns apparently weren’t able to rub off on him during that time.
The Panthers were only in their second or third year of existence when DaBaby moved to Charlotte, and it must’ve been exciting for him as a young fan, growing up with the team and seeing them succeed, making their first Super Bowl appearance in 2003.
Much like Curry, DaBaby had a hand in the team’s 2015 season, as he churned out a rap anthem for the team titled “Dab City” that year, when quarterback Cam Newton made the dance move an international phenomenon.
It would be a few more years before DaBaby came into his own as a rapper, as he was still largely underground at the time, but his success soon grew to rival that of the team: he received six Grammy nominations in 2020 and 2021 for his hits “Suge,” “Rockstar feat. Roddy Rich” and “Bop,” also finding himself atop the Billboard Hot 100 for his collaboration with Roddy Rich, and making it to No. 2 for “Levitating” and “What’s Poppin” where he featured alongside Dua Lipa and Jack Harlow.
Last on the list is another rapper, Nick Cannon. Mariah Carey’s ex-husband and a popular television show host, Cannon grew up in San Diego and spent much of his life there. He lived in North Carolina for a time when he was younger, and his 103 year old great-grandmother still calls the Tar Heel State home: because of that connection, becoming a Panthers fan was an easy decision for him when unfortunate circumstances hit.
True to his San Diego identity, Cannon was a lifelong fan of the Chargers, but when the team bolted to Los Angeles in 2017, he decided that he couldn’t remain a fan of a club that had spurned his hometown. Instead, Cannon defected to the Panthers and has been a fan of the team ever since. While the “Nick Cannon curse” originally applied to his hosting role on “America’s Got Talent,” perhaps it can also explain the team’s recent misfortune… if you’re looking for someone to blame.