Michael Jordan Sold The Hornets To An Ownership Group Including J. Cole And Eric Church

Michael Jordan has had at least some form of ownership of the Charlotte Hornets franchise since 2006. Back when he first got involved, they were the Charlotte Bobcats. A few years later, in 2010, Jordan acquired the majority of the team. He spent nearly $233 million between the two transactions.

Over time, Jordan sold off small portions of the Bobcats and then the Hornets when they reverted their name in 2014. Now, Jordan is making his biggest move yet: He’s selling most of his 80% majority stake in the team to a group led by hedge fund manager Gabe Plotkin. The Hornets are being valued at $3 billion in the deal.

With a conservative estimate, Jordan is making $1.1 billion after taxes from the sale, plus he presumably still owns another 10% of the team. With the $3 billion valuation, Jordan’s remaining stake is worth $300 million, for a grand total windfall today of $1.4 billion.

J. Cole wearing a Michael Jordan Bulls jersey. (Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

While Plotkin and private equity firm president Rick Schnall are the main investors in the Hornets, the new ownership group consists of several members—most notably, rapper J. Cole and country musician Eric Church. Both J. Cole and Church were raised in North Carolina. Other investors include Dan Sundheim, Ian Loring, Amy Dawson, Damian Mills, and Dyal HomeCourt Partners.

J. Cole and Eric Church join the long list of musicians who have dabbled in NBA ownership. Some other big names include Justin Timberlake, who owns 2.8% of the Memphis Grizzlies; Usher, who owns 1% of the Cleveland Cavaliers; and Will Smith, who has an undisclosed ownership stake with the Philadelphia 76ers. Former Destiny’s Child member Michelle Williams also invested in the WNBA’s Chicago Sky.

The rapper Nelly invested in the Bobcats even before Jordan did, becoming a minority stakeholder in 2004. It’s unclear if he still owns any part of the team. Jay-Z also famously had a minority stake with the Brooklyn Nets, but he’s since sold his shares.

The transaction still requires approval from the NBA Board of Governors, though it’s hard to see them putting up resistance against Jordan, one of the greatest to ever play the game.

Now, we just need to wait for J. Cole to drop a Hornets reference in a new song. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for some James Bouknight wordplay.

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