Rumors are floating around that allege Michael Jordan is in advanced talks to sell his majority stake in the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets. Currently, Michael Jordan owns around 80% of the Hornets. Interestingly, he is the ONLY black majority team owner in the NBA.
Jordan first bought a stake in the Hornets in 2006, although at the time they were known as the Bobcats. Later, he increased his stake up to 80% in 2010, when he purchased a majority stake from the original owner, BET founder Robert L. Johnson. In 2014, the team has officially renamed to become the Hornets.
Even without any particularly impressive record since 2010, the value of the Hornets has exploded under Jordan’s ownership. Hence, if the sale rumors turn out true, Michael Jordan’s financial windfall will make him the best and undisputed financial GOAT of GOATS.
“Before we go any further, let me clarify something that will help with the rest of the article: There has been a team called the Hornets in the NBA since 1988. In 2002 the NBA created a new team in Charlotte called the Bobcats. That same year, the Charlotte Hornets moved to New Orleans. Ahead of the 2014-2015 season, the New Orleans Hornets became the Pelicans and the Charlotte Bobcats became the Hornets.”
Johnson Passes To Michael Jordan
Robert L. Johnson became the first African American majority owner of a major professional sports team in the US when he got awarded the NBA expansion team, the Charlotte Bobcats (now Charlotte Hornets), in December 2002.
About two years earlier, Johnson earned a $1 billion fortune when he sold BET to Viacom for $3 billion.
Sadly, just as Robert was finalizing the Hornets deal, he had issues with his wife. They divorced and Robert agreed to pay Sheila Johnson a $400-$500 million settlement, nearly half of his net worth at that time.
In 2006, Michael Jordan’s net worth was about $450 million after he paid his ex-wife Juanita Jordan a $168 million divorce settlement. His net worth at that time was nearly all attributable to his Nike/Jordan brand royalties.
In 2006, Michael Jordan acquired a minority stake in the Bobcats from Robert L. Johnson.
Later in 2010, he bought out Robert fully to become the team’s majority owner. The price that he paid in 2010 for almost 90% of the team?
In 2010, Michael’s acquisition valued the hornets at $233 million in general.
Over the years, Michael sold off small portions of his Hornets equity, reducing his ownership to 80%. One of the main buyers has been a hedge fund manager named Gabe Plotkin. That name might sound familiar since Gabe is the founder of a hedge fund known as Melvin Capital. Melvin was the key target of a group of Reddit meme ‘stonk’ traders who were behind the legendary 2021 Gamestop short squeeze.
Gabe’s hedge fund might have been slaughtered violently, but his personal finances managed to survive the attack since he is now the leading investor in the said buyout of Michael’s Hornets ownership.
How Much Are The Hornets Now Worth In 2023?
The most straightforward answer is:
That is a conservative minimum. As a comparison, in December the Phoenix Suns were purchased for $4 billion. In that context, the league’s most valuable team, the Golden State Warriors, are worth nearly $8 billion.
How Much Will Jordan Make?
Let us say the Hornets eventually sell for $2 billion. That might mean an 80% stake would be worth around $1.6 billion. If between purchase costs and other operational costs Michael Jordan has spent $250 million over the years as owner, it leaves $1.35 billion in taxable gains. Jordan’s primary residence is Florida and the state does not charge a state tax. Hence, Michael will have about…
That is $1.1 billion after taxes directly deposited into his bank account. The team has made the playoffs only three times in his 17 seasons of ownership (losing in the first round every time) and just had four total seasons with winning records. Even with such a performance, he will still walk away with over a billion dollars in profit. Truly, he will become the financial GOAT of all GOATS.