Monday, March 01, 2010

Jordan buys Bobcats; name to change?

Reports out of Charlotte are that basketball legend Michael Jordan has bought the controlling interest in the NBA's Bobcats, with MJ "making a huge personal financial commitment" to the endeavor.

Now Jordan's challenge will be recruiting investors to share the risk of owning the Bobcats, once Jordan is approved as controlling owner sometime in the next two months.

As the source said, Jordan won't want to risk possibly "losing $30 million a season," all by himself, as [previous owner Bob] Johnson has of late.

Recruiting partners proved difficult for Johnson in Charlotte. He had a group of about 18 minority partners but owned the vast majority of the Bobcats himself. Those partners, in recent years, declined to participate in cash calls to cover the team's financial losses. They have been told to expect "significantly less" than their initial investment in return to make this deal work.

It's unclear whether any of those minority partners will be part of Jordan's ownership group. But Jordan, with his world fame and high profile, may have an easier time finding partners for an NBA team in his home state.

Jordan, who has not commented on his deal with Johnson, has been a minority partner with oversight of basketball operations since June of 2006. Under NBA rules, one investor for each NBA team must be designated "controlling owner," but that investor doesn't have to own a majority of the team - his share can be as small as 15 percent.

An exact purchase price hasn't been revealed, but industry sources estimate it's in excess of $250 million.

Jordan is expected to have more of a presence in the Queen City than he has up to this point. Honestly, up until now Jordan has been raked over the local coals for not being in Charlotte nearly enough. In fact, he's still being asked to be more involved in the community.

Michael Jordan has run the basketball operation for the Charlotte Bobcats since 2006. But the team wasn't his [says the Observer's Tom Sorensen]. ...

The rules have changed. If the Bobcats lose money, Michael will lose money. So maybe he'll change, too.

He has to. Michael dabbled as an NBA executive. There are people who devote more hours a week to looking for a job than Michael devoted to the Bobcats. ...

His supporters talk about his commitment to winning. But on the basketball court, that commitment lasted 21/2 hours. If he truly runs a franchise, his commitment won't end when the game does. ...

Although Michael grew up in North Carolina, he moves in an orbit most of us can't fathom, an orbit that is peculiarly his. So maybe I'm being small-town here. But he ought to live among us. In and around Charlotte there are more than 100 houses for sale in the $1million range. Deals are available. Realtors are standing by.
And here's more.

It's another big moment for MJ in a state that has grown used to celebrating alongside him. Jordan grew up in Wilmington, first became famous in Chapel Hill and has lately been directing the Bobcats' basketball operations in Charlotte [says Scott Fowler].

Now Jordan will own the team instead of Bob Johnson, who became so widely unpopular that even the team's "Bobcats" name is tainted in some fans' eyes.

Yes, there is even talk of the Bobcats' name changing. After all, former owner Johnson named the team for himself.

If Michael Jordan listens to his customers, and potential customers, he'll seriously consider a name change from "Bobcats'' once his purchase of Charlotte's NBA franchise is complete [says Rick Bonnell].

Too many of you have emailed me with that suggestion not to think it's an issue to many Charlotteans. You didn't like Bob Johnson naming the team after himself, and you sure don't see this as a positive once Johnson is no longer majority owner.

So, should the Charlotte franchise's team name be changed? If so, to what? Go here to vote. So far, the overwhelming vote is "yes."

(Image from the Charlotte Observer)


Anonymous said...

How 'bout the "Queens"?

Kevin Brewer said...

You would think that Jordan could afford some jeans without holes in them.

CharlotteRes said...

Now word is out that MJ only paid $175 million?


Anonymous said...

how bout the Charlotte Flight, one cuz of Air Jordan & second cuz North Carolina is known for the Wright Brothers inventing the plane