Michael Jordan became the majority owner of the then-Charlotte Bobcats when Robert L. Johnson sold the team to him in 2010. More than a decade later, Johnson revealed that he now regrets selling the team because of how much NBA teams are valued today.
In an interview on "The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations," the BET founder and RLJ Companies chairman was honest about his regret on selling his NBA franchise. He even noted that he always told it to Jordan, who he considers to be a friend.
"Definitely, the regrets," Johnson said. "I'd tell Michael about that all the time. … Michael was always my first choice to sell the team. He and I have been friends, you know, 10-15 years before I even owned the team. If I wanted to sell the team if I was forced to sell, it would be to Michael."
Robert L. Johnson also explained how the NBA forcing Donald Sterling out of the LA Clippers increased the value of teams. Steve Ballmer bought the Clippers for a then-record $2 billion, which benefited most owners till that point.
"Nobody could have predicted that Don Sterling would say what he said about black people, and that led to the NBA commissioner to say, 'We've got got a huge racial problem if we're gonna keep Don Sterling as an owner.'
(NBA commissioner) basically forced Donald Sterling out. But being forced out and walking away with $2 billion. A lot of people would like to be forced out of a team for that price."
Michael Jordan bought the Charlotte Hornets for $275 million back in 2010. Now, the Hornets are valued at $1.7 billion.
If Jordan decides to sell the team, he'll likely get at least $ 3 billion based on the most recent NBA franchise sale. Robert Sarver sold the Phoenix Suns, valued at $2.7 billion, to Mat and Justin Ishbia for $4 billion.
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Is Michael Jordan the worst NBA owner right now?
Michael Jordan might be the greatest player of all time, but his success on the court and on shoes has not translated to his ownership of the Charlotte Hornets. During Jordan's tenure as owner, the Hornets have only made the playoffs three times and have not made it past the first round.
The Hornets have also passed on so many NBA talents in the draft, with their only great picks being Kemba Walker in 2011 and LaMelo Ball in 2020. They have also made some very questionable decisions in the past decade, from coaches to the front office. They currently have a record of 13-26, which is the third-worst in the NBA.
Nevertheless, the Hornets have a chance to nab the first overall pick in this year's draft. If Charlotte gets the first pick, they don't have any other choice but to select Victor Wembanyama. A partnership between Wembanyama and Ball could take the team to the next level.
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