Michael Jordan is finalizing a deal to sell the majority share of the Charlotte Hornets, a move that will end his 13-year run overseeing the organization, the team announced Friday.
Jordan is selling to a group led by Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall, the Hornets said. Plotkin has been a minority stakeholder in the Hornets since 2019. Schnall has been a minority owner of the Atlanta Hawks since 2015 and is in the process of selling his investment in that team.
It’s not clear how long the process of selling will take to be finalized by the NBA’s Board of Governors. Jordan is expected to keep a stake in the Hornets, the team he bought in 2010 for about $275 million.
Jordan’s decision to sell leaves the 30-team NBA without any Black majority ownership.
“In the same way that it’s wonderful that one of our greatest, Michael Jordan, could become the principal governor of a team, he has the absolute right to sell at the same time,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said earlier this month at the NBA Finals. “Values have gone up a lot since he bought that team, so that is his decision.”
In that same news conference at the finals, Silver said the Board of Governors are focused on diversity in ownership groups.
“I would love to have better representation in terms of principal governors,” Silver said. “It’s a marketplace. It’s something that if we were expanding that the league would be in a position to focus directly on that, but in individual team transactions, the market takes us where we are.”
The sale price was not immediately announced; ESPN, citing sources, said the franchise was being valued at $3 billion. The most recent sale of an NBA team came when Mat Ishbia bought the Phoenix Suns, a deal that when struck in December valued that franchise at $4 billion.
Through spokesperson Estee Portnoy, Jordan declined comment.
For as great as Jordan was on the court — national champion at North Carolina, two-time Olympic gold medalist, six-time NBA champion and in the never-ending conversation for best player ever — the Hornets never reached a championship level during his time as the owner.
Charlotte went 423-600 in his 13 seasons as the owner, the 26th-best record over that span in the 30-team league. It never won a playoff series in that time, and hasn’t even been to the postseason in any of the last seven seasons.
Other members of the new potential Hornets ownership group — pending the approval — are recording artist J. Cole, Dan Sundheim, Ian Loring, country music singer-songwriter Eric Church, and several local Charlotte investors including Amy Levine Dawson and Damian Mills.