APNewsBreak: Michael Jordan reaches deal to buy controlling interest in Charlotte Bobcats

By Mike Cranston, AP
Saturday, February 27, 2010

APNewsBreak: Jordan reaches deal to buy Bobcats

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Michael Jordan has struck a deal to buy controlling interest of the Charlotte Bobcats, putting the former NBA superstar in charge of the money-losing team in his home state.

Traci Blunt, a spokeswoman for owner Bob Johnson, told The Associated Press that Jordan was able to put together an ownership group late Friday to buy the team he has been a part-owner of since 2006. Jordan has been running the team’s basketball operations.

The purchase price and details of Jordan’s ownership group — called MJ Basketball Holdings LLC — weren’t immediately available. Blunt said Johnson would have no further comment.

Former Houston Rockets executive George Postolos also bid on the Bobcats and didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment.

NBA commissioner David Stern announced at All-Star weekend that a deal was imminent, but the league’s owners must still approve the purchase.

It will end Johnson’s stint as the first black majority owner of a major professional sports team, while giving Hall of Famer Jordan a new venture.

Jordan won six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls and has made millions selling sneakers, apparel and other items. Now he’ll begin a completely different role trying to make the Bobcats a winner, and the franchise and Charlotte’s downtown arena profitable.

After paying $300 million for the expansion franchise that began play in 2004-05, Johnson has lost tens of millions of dollars each season as the Bobcats have struggled to draw fans and find sponsorships.

Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television, recruited Jordan to be a minority investor and gave him the final say on all basketball decisions.

Jordan has had a unique role with the Bobcats. While he has run the basketball operations, he’s not officially a team employee and rarely attends practices or games, or does work on the marketing side of the operation.

Jordan has had some missteps — drafting the disappointing Adam Morrison No. 3 overall in 2006 — but he was also able to lure Hall of Famer Larry Brown to become coach at the beginning of last season.

Jordan and Brown have made seven trades involving 21 players since the start of last season. The November acquisition of Stephen Jackson from Golden State has helped Charlotte get into playoff contention in the Eastern Conference.

will not be displayed