Michael Jordan, owner of the Charlotte Hornets and one of the world’s most celebrated athletes, plans to sell a majority stake in the NBA team to a group led by private equity investors Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall. agreed.
The entire team is valued at $3 billion, according to people familiar with the deal, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to discuss the deal publicly. In its sale announcement, the club did not say what percentage of his stake Jordan would sell, but said he would remain a minority investor.
The buying group also includes country music star Eric Church and rapper J. Cole, both of whom are from North Carolina.
Jordan won six championships with the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s and is considered by many to be the greatest basketball player of all time. A representative for Jordan did not respond to a request for comment.
Jordan, a North Carolina native, bought the team for $275 million in 2010 when it was known as the Bobcats.
He is the league’s only black owner, despite the fact that most of the players are black men.
“We want to have better representation in terms of key governors,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said at a press conference before the NBA Finals.
Silver said the team owners are looking to add diversity to their investment group, with several black ex-players including David Robinson, Grant Hill, Shaquille O’Neal and Dwyane Wade getting smaller stakes. I pointed out that I was in the owner group.
Valuations of NBA teams have skyrocketed recently, and more owners are willing to sell. The Hornets sale marks the third major change in NBA ownership in the past year.
In December, a group led by Matt Ishbia bought majority stakes in Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury. That included all of the stock owned by former owner Robert Thurber, who was suspended from the league for rampant workplace misconduct. As part of the deal, Ishbia’s group also bought shares owned by Dyal Homecourt Partners, one of the investors buying Jordan’s Hornets stake. The deal was valued at $4 billion for the Suns and Mercury, according to a person not authorized to speak publicly about the deal.
In April, former Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Mark Lasry sold his stake in the Bucks to Cleveland Browns owners Jimmy Haslam and Dee Haslam. The Bucks were valued at $3.5 billion as part of the deal, according to people familiar with the deal.
Since Jordan bought the team, the Hornets have made the playoffs only twice this season. They both lost in the first round.
They seemed on track to build around a young core that included Miles Bridges and LaMelo Ball. Bridges was a restricted free agent last summer, but the Hornets canceled plans to re-sign him after he failed to challenge a domestic violence felony charge. The NBA has handed Bridges a 30-game unpaid suspension, 10 of which he will play next season.
The Hornets had the fourth-worst record in the league this season and the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference. They added two spots in the draft lottery and earned the #2 pick in this month’s draft.