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Michael Jordan is finalizing a deal to sell the majority share of the Charlotte Hornets, a move that will end his 13-year run overseeing the organization, the team announced Friday. Image Credit: AP

Florida: Michael Jordan is selling a majority stake in the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets to a group led by Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall for $3 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

The sale ends Jordan’s 13-year run as the majority owner of the team, which he bought in 2010 for $275 million. The basketball legend will keep a minority stake in the Hornets after the deal, according to a statement on Friday.

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The deal follows a standout 2022 for sports team sales and affirms the NBA’s status among the world’s most profitable leagues. Its franchises have soared in value in recent years as some of the world’s richest people have used their vast wealth to become team owners. Billionaire Mat Ishbia agreed last year to buy more than 50 per cent of the Phoenix Suns in a record NBA deal that valued the club at $4 billion.

Plotkin, whose hedge fund Melvin Capital Management imploded in the wake of 2021’s Reddit-fueled GameStop trading frenzy, has been a minority owner of the Hornets since 2019.

Before his firm’s implosion, Plotkin was one of the highest-paid hedge fund managers. He earned $846 million in 2020, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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NBA commissioner Adam Silver, left, and Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan pose for a photo during a news conference to announce Charlotte, N.C., as the site of the 2017 NBA All-Star basketball game.

Schnall - of private equity firm Clayton Dubilier & Rice - is in the process of selling his minority stake in the Atlanta Hawks. Other investors in the Hornets include Dan Sundheim, founder of hedge fund D1 Capital Partners, and Chris Shumway, who converted his investment firm into a family office in 2011.

Minority investors within the purchasing group include J. Cole, a rapper from North Carolina, and Eric Church, a country singer. ESPN reported the sale earlier.

Jordan’s sale means the NBA no longer has a Black majority team owner. He oversaw the Charlotte basketball team rebrand from the Bobcats to the Hornets, and took steps to keep the team in the city.

In 2022, Charlotte extended the Hornets’ lease through 2045 and city officials agreed to a $275 million deal that would renovate its uptown arena and help build a new practice facility. Yet the team hasn’t had much success on the basketball court under Jordan, making the playoffs just three times in 13 seasons and failing to win a playoff series.

Estee Portnoy, an executive for Jordan’s family office, declined to comment.

Other leagues have also seen a flurry of deals. A group led by Rob Walton bought the NFL’s Denver Broncos for $4.65 billion in June 2022, the most ever paid for a US professional sports team. Todd Boehly led a consortium that purchased Chelsea FC of the English Premier League for over $5 billion.