A NEW ERA FOR HIS AIRNESS
Michael Jordan’s drive and immense physical talent made him an NBA superstar. His stardom and shrewdness helped him make millions in business.
His latest venture will test his talents and skills like no other.
NBA commissioner David Stern said Saturday he expects Jordan to be approved as majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats by the end of next month. Minutes before his exclusive negotiating window expired late Friday night, Jordan struck a deal with owner Bob Johnson to take over the money-losing team in his home state.
It puts the biggest basketball star of his generation in charge of a sixyear-old team that’s never made the playoffs, has struggled to win over fans and has more than $150 million in debt.
Can Jordan’s streak of business success continue?
“If he’s going to be an absentee owner, just like Bob was, it’s not going to work,” said Felix Sabates, a NASCAR team owner who also holds a minority stake in the Bobcats. “I think if Michael makes a commitment and shows dedication, he can be very successful. He’s a big icon in this part of the country.”
An icon that has been rarely seen. He’s been a part-owner of the Bobcats with the final say on all basketball decisions since 2006. But Jordan has kept a low profile, rarely attending practices or games, taking no role in marketing and leaving the day-to-day operations to a team of assistants.
But former Houston Rockets executive George Postolos, who had an ownership group together to buy the team before Jordan swooped in at the last minute, thinks the deal shows Jordan really wanted the team.
Michael Jordan, who talked with Charlotte’s Stephen Jackson earlier this season, could have a much more influential role as team owner.