Michael Jordan Is Making a Huge Profit on His Investment in the Charlotte Hornets

Michael Jordan spent more than a decade as the majority owner of the Charlotte Hornets, but decided to sell the team in exchange for a huge payout.


Jul. 24 2023, Published 11:27 a.m. ET

Michael Jordan pointing in a hat and sunglasses on a golf course.
Source: Getty Images

The gist:

  • NBA legend Michael Jordan decided to sell his majority stake in the Charlotte Hornets.
  • While the reasons for the sale are unclear, Michael Jordan is set to earn a huge profit; he is selling the team for a cool $3 billion after purchasing a majority stake in the team for under $300 million.
  • The Charlotte Hornets' performance hasn't been stellar under his ownership, and that may be one of the reasons he decided to sell the team.
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After a legendary career in the NBA that has many believing he's the greatest to ever play the game, Michael Jordan has spent much of his retirement working as a team owner. He purchased a minority stake in the Charlotte Hornets, his hometown team, in 2006, and then became the majority owner in 2010, paying $275 million for the team.

More recently, though, Jordan decided to sell the team, leading some to wonder why he was getting out of the franchise ownership game now.

Why did Michael Jordan sell the Charlotte Hornets?

We don't know for sure why Jordan decided that it was time for him to let his team go, but we do know that he's getting a tidy return on his investment. While he purchased his majority stake for under $300 million, he's selling the team for $3 billion, meaning that he could make almost 10 times what he paid for the team, without adjusting for inflation.

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Michael Jordan speaking at a podium in Las Vegas in 2013.
Source: Getty Images

That massive price jump comes even as the Hornets have had very limited success during Jordan's tenure as the team's owner. They have one of the lowest valuations of any team in the league, and have only had a winning record during three of the 13 seasons in which Jordan was the majority owner. They went to the playoffs twice in that time, and lost int he first round both times.

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ESPN also reported that the Hornets have been in the bottom half of the NBA in attendance in 13 of the last 14 seasons, meaning that the team has not been making that much money either.

Clearly, then, Jordan's tenure as the team's primary owner was far from an overwhelming success. His enormous success on the court did not translate to similar success as an owner, and he may have decided to sell the team in part because his tenure didn't go all that well.

Jordan sold his stake to a group led by Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall, who already had minority stakes in NBA teams prior the transaction. Jordan will still retain a minority stake in the team, and will be involved in some form in the team moving forward.

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Source: YouTube

“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 in a press conference. “Values have gone up a lot since he bought that team, so that is his decision.”

Silver also added that the NBA's focus was on having a diverse array of owners across the league.

“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.”

As a player, Jordan was a six-time champion who played for the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards.

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