Michael Jordan, the owner of the Charlotte Hornets and one of the world’s most storied athletes, has agreed to sell his majority share in the N.B.A. team to a group led by Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall, two private equity investors.
The team as a whole was valued at $3 billion given the terms of the agreement, according to a person familiar with its details who was not authorized to discuss them publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity. The team, in its announcement of the sale, did not disclose what percentage of his stake Jordan would sell but said he would remain a minority investor.
The acquiring group also includes the country music star Eric Church and the rapper J. Cole, both of whom are from North Carolina.
Jordan won six championships with the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s and is considered by many to be the greatest basketball player ever. A representative for Jordan did not respond to a request for comment.
Jordan, a North Carolina native, purchased the team in 2010 for $275 million, when it was known as the Bobcats.
He is the league’s only Black majority owner, even though most of its players are Black men.
“I would love to have better representation in terms of principal governors,” N.B.A. Commissioner Adam Silver said in a news conference before the N.B.A. finals.
Silver said team owners have been trying to add diversity to their investing groups, noting that several former players who are Black have joined ownership groups with smaller stakes, including David Robinson, Grant Hill, Shaquille O’Neal and Dwyane Wade.
N.B.A. team valuations have skyrocketed recently, and more owners have been willing to sell. The sale of the Hornets will be the third major N.B.A. ownership change in the past year.
In December, a group led by Mat Ishbia purchased a majority stake in the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury, including all shares that had belonged to Robert Sarver, the former owner who was suspended by the league because of pervasive workplace misconduct. As part of the deal, Ishbia’s group also purchased the shares owned by Dyal HomeCourt Partners, a group that is among the investors purchasing Jordan’s share of the Hornets. The Suns and Mercury were valued at $4 billion in that deal, according to people who were not authorized to speak publicly about it.
In April, the former Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry sold his share of the Bucks to the Cleveland Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam. The Bucks were valued at $3.5 billion as part of the deal, according to a person familiar with the agreement.
The Hornets have made the playoffs only twice in the seasons since Jordan purchased the team; they lost in the first round both times.
They seemed on track to build around a young core that included Miles Bridges and LaMelo Ball. Bridges was a restricted free agent last summer, but the Hornets halted their plans to re-sign him after he pleaded no contest to felony domestic violence. The N.B.A. suspended Bridges without hisse for 30 games, 10 of which will be served next season.
This season, the Hornets had the league’s fourth-worst record and the second-worst in the Eastern Conference. They improved by two slots in the draft lottery and have the second pick in this month’s draft.
The New York Times