NBA superstar Michael Jordan will bring his 13-year run as the Charlotte Hornets majority owner to an end after agreeing to sell his stake in the team.
Jordan, who has also previously owned a minority stake in the Washington Wizards, the team where he brought his career to an end in 2003, is currently the only black majority team owner in the NBA.
Once the deal is complete, he will remain a minority owner and will maintain a public presence with the team, but the decision-making influence he has previously had over the team will be much less.
Who is buying the Charlotte Hornets?
The team will be sold to a group led by Atlanta Hawks minority owner Rick Schnall and financier Gabe Plotkin, who is currently a minority owner, for a fee believed to be in the region of $3 billion. Schnall will be ending his association with the Hawks as part of the deal.
Jordan bought a minority stake in the Hornets in 2006 and became the majority owner in 2010. As is so often the case with Jordan’s career, it was a significant move that saw him become the first former NBA player to buy a majority stake in a team. Other players have since followed in his footsteps, both within the NBA and in other sports.
NFL superstar Tom Brady has recently announced that he will become the latest major sporting hero to invest in a team, buying a minority stake in the Las Vegas Raiders.
Was Jordan a success with the Hornets?
However, his time with the Hornets has been marked by poor form and bad results. The Hornets have only made the play-offs twice since Jordan bought his minority stake: in 2014 and 2016.
On both occasions, their runs came to an end in the first round, losing both times to the Miami Heat. The Hornets play in the Eastern Conference and, since the second of those two play-off appearances in 2016, have not finished higher than ninth. Last season they experienced a particularly poor turnout, finishing 14th out of 15 teams in the division.
While Jordan’s involvement with the Hornets has been laudable in some ways, on the whole it represents a rare sporting failure for the superstar, who is seen as one of the greatest basketball players – perhaps even one of the greatest sportspeople – of all time.
During an illustrious career spent largely with the Chicago Bulls, the 60-year-old was an NBA champion six times (1991-1993, 1996-1998) and was the Finals MVP during those seasons as well.
He won two Olympic Gold Medals (in 1984 and 1992) and was one of the early pioneers of sporting endorsements when he gave his name to Nike’s Air Jordan sneakers in 1984.
His career came to an end with a brief stint at the Washington Wizards in the early 2000s, but he’s hit the headlines again over the last few years thanks to the critically-acclaimed documentary series The Last Dance, which tells the story of his final season with the Bulls in 1997/98.