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Michael Jordan plans to sell NBA team Charlotte Hornets

Former NBA star Michael Jordan is selling the Charlotte Hornets to a group of investors led by financiers Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall, the team announced Friday. 

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. ESPN reported that the Hornets have a $3 billion valuation. Aside from Plotkin and Schnall, the investors include North Carolina rapper Jermaine "J. Cole" Cole and country music singer Eric Church.

Jordan has been the Hornets' majority owner since 2010, when he bought the team for $275 million, and he will remain a minority owner after the transaction, which must still be approved by majority of league owners.

Jordan is currently the only Black majority owner in the NBA. He was previously a minority owner and president of basketball operations for the Washington Wizards.

Plotkin, the founder of California venture capital firm Tallwoods Capital, has been a minority owner of the team and on the NBA's governing board since 2019. Schnall, the co-president of New York private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, is a minority owner of the Atlanta Hawks. Schnall is selling his investment in the Hawks, the Hornets said. 

During a press conference earlier this month, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver talked about more people of color joining the league's governing board, including possibly Jordan. 

"In the same way that it's wonderful that one of our greatest, Michael Jordan, could become the principal governor of a team, he has the absolute right to sell at the same time," Silver said. "Values have gone up a lot since he bought that team, so that is his decision."

As part of the transaction, Plotkin, Schnall and the other investors will also take majority control of the Hornets' farm team, the Greensboro Swarm. They will also operate the Hornets' arena — the Spectrum Center. 

Few team owners of color

Among the four major U.S. sports leagues, there are few owners of color. Kim Pegula, an Asian woman, owns the NFL's Buffalo Bills and Shad Khan, who is from Pakistan, owns the Jacksonville Jaguars. Arte Moreno, a Mexican-American, owns the MLB Los Angeles Angels, and Sheila Johnson is part-owner of the NHL's Washington Capitals and NBA's Washington Wizards.

In his 13 years as owner of the Hornets, Jordan's most noteworthy decision might have been moving the team back to Charlotte after it had spent years in New Orleans, CBS Sports reported

It's rare for NBA teams to go on sale, but when they do they fetch big bucks. Steve Ballmer bought the Los Angeles Clippers in 2014 for $2 billion; Tilman Fertitta bought the Houston Rockets for a then-record $2.2 billion in 2017; Joe Tsai bought the Brooklyn Nets for $2.3 billion in 2019; and the Minnesota Timberwolves were sold to Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez last year for $1.5 billion. 

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