NBA

Michael Jordan’s $275 Million Investment in the Charlotte Bobcats Cost Him a Spot at a Golf Tournament

Anyone familiar with Michael Jordan knows that he loves basketball and golf.

Jordan, who played his final NBA game in 2003, has spent retirement indulging in both. In addition to years of golfing, Jordan bought the Charlotte Bobcats — now the Hornets — in 2010.

When he formally met the media as the Bobcats’ owner that year, Jordan may not have known that his new role would soon keep him away from a crucial golf tournament.

The 2011 NBA lockout cost Michael Jordan a major golfing opportunity

NBA legend Michael Jordan golfing in 2014.
NBA legend Michael Jordan had to withdraw from a golf tournament in 2011 because of the Charlotte Bobcats. | Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational

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Michael Jordan took over the Charlotte Bobcats in February 2010, midway through a season where the Stephen Jackson-led team won 44 games and reached the playoffs.

Charlotte went 34-48 during the 2010-11 season, Jordan’s first full year as owner. Although they missed the playoffs, Charlotte selected UConn star point guard Kemba Walker with the ninth overall pick in June 2011.

Unfortunately for Walker, he wouldn’t make his NBA debut on time. The NBA players and owners, including Jordan, found themselves in a bitter labor war. Jordan, who had fought against the owners during his playing days, now wanted the players to settle and get back to work.

The lockout persisted, and it began affecting everyone’s wallets in a significant way. Not only was Michael Jordan losing money on his $275 million investment because there were no games, but the lockout impacted his golf schedule.

According to SB Nation, Jordan intended to travel to Australia for the Presidents Cup. Jordan, the team’s assistant captain, withdrew from his duties and attributed that decision to the lockout. 

“With the NBA labor situation unsettled, as the majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, I feel it is necessary that I remain in the country.” 

Michael Jordan

Fred Couples, the Presidents Cup captain, replaced Jordan with John Cook. The United States team won the tournament, 19-15. 

Jordan and the Bobcats would likely prefer to forget those times

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Eventually, the NBA parties settled, and the 2011-12 season began on Christmas Day.

If the Charlotte Bobcats had any realistic playoff aspirations, those went out the door very quickly. Charlotte went 7-59 in the lockout-shortened season, and their .106 winning percentage remains the worst in league history.

The Bobcats went 2-17 in January 2012 and lost all 16 games they played in April. Charlotte ended the year on a 23-game losing streak and didn’t even earn the No. 1 overall pick, which would have been Kentucky star Anthony Davis. The then-New Orleans Hornets drafted Davis.

Instead, Charlotte selected Davis’s college teammate, forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, with the second overall pick. Davis became a star in New Orleans and won a championship with LeBron James and the Lakers in 2020, by the way.

The Hornets have been inconsistent in Michael Jordan’s tenure

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Beginning in 2014, the Charlotte Bobcats became the Hornets, and expectations were rightfully higher than they had been. The Bobcats were coming off a postseason appearance, and Kemba Walker had grown into a dangerous point guard.

Despite Walker playing at All-Star level for several years, Charlotte hasn’t reached the playoffs since the spring of 2016. Walker signed with the Boston Celtics in the summer of 2019, although he’s battled injuries during that time.

Michael Jordan turned 58 this year, and he isn’t getting any younger. Charlotte at least has a young core, led by LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier, to finally turn the Hornets into a consistent contender and gift Jordan a seventh championship ring.

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