Michael Jordan Bought the Charlotte Bobcats for $175 Million, Now the Charlotte Hornets Are Worth $1.5 Billion

Michael Jordan is still regarded as the best basketball player of all time by many. But Jordan’s impact beyond the court has been substantial as well. The now 59-year-old has served as an ambassador for the game — still one of its most iconic figures. He’s also moved into an executive role in retirement. 

Jordan currently owns the Charlotte Hornets in his native North Carolina. While the Hornets are hardly considered one of the NBA’s elite, the team has represented a solid investment for Jordan. Here’s the story of how much he bought the team for and what they’re worth now. 

Michael Jordan purchased the Charlotte Bobcats for $275 million in 2010

The Charlotte Bobcats began as an expansion franchise after the Charlotte Hornets moved to New Orleans. After the New Orleans Hornets changed their name to the Pelicans, the Bobcats were free to take over the Hornets moniker that the franchise used when it played in Charlotte. 

According to ESPN, Jordan purchased the Bobcats (now the Hornets) in 2010 for $275 million. “Purchasing the Bobcats is the culmination of my post-playing career goal of becoming the majority owner of an NBA franchise,” Jordan said. He added, “I am especially pleased to have the opportunity to build a winning team in my home state of North Carolina.” 

At the time of the purchase, the Bobcats were one of the NBA’s most listless franchises. They’d existed for the better part of a decade but had yet to make an impact in the league. The franchise hadn’t experienced a high-profile player or a deep playoff run. 

With Jordan’s purchase, they went under the control of the single greatest icon in NBA history. This, along with their shift back to the Hornets name, helped the team shed its unsuccessful Bobcats branding. 

The Charlotte Hornets franchise was a great investment for His Airness

NBA Hall of Famer and Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan holds a Hornets jersey
Owner Michael Jordan holds a Charlotte Hornets jersey | Elsa/Getty Images

The NBA has skyrocketed in popularity over the past 20 years. While the league was certainly well-regarded in the ’90s when Jordan played, the era of stars like LeBron James, Steph Curry, and Kevin Durant has catapulted the sport to more prominence. With that popularity comes more money, meaning anyone who invested in an NBA franchise several years ago is likely to see a hefty return on that initial commitment. 

Jordan is no different. As noted above, he purchased the team for $275 million. According to Forbes, as of 2020, the team’s valuation is rumored to be around a whopping $1.5 billion. This just shows how valuable all NBA franchises have become across the board. 

That also demonstrates that Jordan’s financial aptitude rivals his game on the court. He’s turned a sizable investment into a much greater payoff should he ever sell the team. 

How much control does Michael Jordan have over the Charlotte Hornets?

While Jordan is the majority owner of the Hornets, he is no longer the sole owner. According to Bleacher Report, MJ sold a small stake in the team in 2019. Melvin Capital venture fund Gabe Plotkin, as well as the DI Capital founder Daniel Sundheim, purchased this stake. Jordan looked to add these partners due to their resources, which can assist the team in getting up to speed with modern technology. 

Jordan may not be the only owner of the Hornets, but he still owns most of the franchise and shows no signs of selling anytime soon. It’s truly rare for a player as great as Jordan to move to an executive role. But he’s done so effortlessly. If the competitive fire he had as a player is any indication, he won’t be selling the Hornets until he’s hung a title from their rafters. 

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