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Michael Jordan is selling the Charlotte Hornets

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After 13 years, basketball legend Michael Jordan announced on Friday that he's selling the Charlotte Hornets.

Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall are the lead investors in a group that's buying Jordan's majority stake in the team. They're minority owners in the Hornets and Atlanta Hawks, respectively. Jordan will retain a minority stake and stay involved with the Hornets. The transaction also includes the Greensboro Swarm (an NBA G League team) and Hornets Venom GT (NBA 2K League esports team) and the management and operation of the city-owned Spectrum Center.

The price was not disclosed, though ESPN reports that the deal values the Hornets franchise at about $3 billion. The group of buyers also includes:

  • Chris Shumway, Dan Sundheim and Ian Loring, all of whom are investors, managers or owners of private equity firms.
  • Dyal HomeCourt Partners, an alternative investment fund that's part of asset management firm Blue Owl and specializes in buying stakes in NBA teams. Dyal HomeCourt has bought stakes in the Atlanta Hawks, Sacramento Kings, and Phoenix Suns.
  • North Carolina natives and recording artists J. Cole and country music singer-songwriter Eric Church
  • Local North Carolina investors, including Amy Levine Dawson (daughter of Family Dollar founder Leon Levine) and Damian Mills (owner of Mills Automotive Group).

The deal is subject to league approval. It's not immediately clear how long that process might take.
Jordan is the NBA's only Black majority team owner. While he's a legend on the court, he's had little success as an owner. The team has only made the playoffs three times since 2010, and failed to advance each time. The Hornets' regular season record since 2010 is 423 wins and 600 losses.

When Jordan bought the team, they were still named the Charlotte Bobcats, after the original Hornets franchise relocated to New Orleans in 2002. He brought the Hornets name and identity back to Charlotte in 2014, a move that endeared the team to fans and drew increased local interest in the franchise.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Ely Portillo has worked as a journalist in Charlotte for over a decade. Before joining WFAE, he worked at the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute and the Charlotte Observer.