It has been said that Michael Jordan's decision to sign with Nike was one of the best deals in sports history, launch a multi-million dollar business, help turn the company into a basketball giant and change the game for the hundreds of athletes They chased him.
But, what if it was only the second best agreement Jordan made in his life?
In 2010, Jordan made an incredible transaction that could rival it, even if it does not get the attention it deserves. At that time, the values of the NBA franchises had receded due to the economy, the owner of Charlotte Bobcats, Bob Johnson, was heavily indebted and the NBA was interested in helping Jordan obtain ownership of a team after previous attempts will fail.
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The result was a historic agreement that has become one of the biggest purchases of equipment in recent history. Jordan obtained the Bobcats for a reported value of $ 275 million, but most of it was the debt assumption. The NBA approved the purchase and Jordan paid only $ 30 million in cash, according to the Charlotte Observer, an agreement the league probably will not approve today.
Jordan subsequently bought more shares in the team and now owns about 90 percent of the franchise. His property has raised Jordan's net worth by hundreds of millions in the last decade. This month, Forbes estimated that the Hornets (new Bobcats) now have a value of more than $ 1.2 billion.
The Hornets have typically operated in red, but feel driven by a robust income distribution system that channels tens of millions to Jordan annually to help make his team profitable. For example, between 2012 and 2017, league documents showed that Jordan's fellow owners sent him more than $ 130 million in revenue assistance.
This week, Jordan will host one of the NBA's exclusive events when Stellar Weekend arrives in Charlotte. The city spent $ 34 million to help renovate the Spectrum Center to prepare for the event.
When LeBron James arrives to lead the LeBron team against the Giannis team, he will do so with admiration for what Jordan has done. The six championships and the Hall of Fame career, of course, but James has been amazed at Jordan's achievements on the field since he was a child.
The maneuvers and deals of Jordan to become the controlling owner of an NBA franchise has captured James' attention again when James matured from basketball star to entrepreneur.
James and his business partner, Maverick Carter, made it clear that their goal is to own a sports team in the future. As with his playing career, when James has traced his own path but often seeks inspiration from Jordan, James hopes to have his own Star Weekend.
Actually, James already owns a sports team. As part of an agreement in 2011 with Fenway Sports Group, James received a small percentage of the strength of English football Liverpool FC. FSG bought the equipment for $ 477 million shortly before it made the deal with James. The club is now valued at approximately $ 2 billion. That investment by James has gone quite well.
"I see that LeBron owns several teams someday," said Fenway Sports president Sam Kennedy. "Not only in the NBA, but also in international football and maybe in sports." One thing we have learned from working with LeBron is that he sees the big picture, has a history of smart decisions and looks for opportunities, and has also been very successful. financially, and that's what you have to do to become the owner of a sports team. "
There are not many former NBA players who have become owners of NBA teams. It's one of the reasons why James has been attracted to two of them: Jordan and Magic Johnson, who owned 10 percent of the Los Angeles Lakers at the same time and now is one of the owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Grant Hill owns a portion of the Atlanta Hawks' ownership and is the vice president of the team. Shaquille O'Neal has a small ownership stake in the Sacramento Kings. Elliot Perry has a ownership stake in the Memphis Grizzlies and is the team's alternate governor.
"I had the opportunity to see my father [Calvin] to pursue ownership in teams, "said Hill, whose father was an NFL Pro Bowl running back and was part of groups that tried to buy the Washington Bullets and the New England Patriots.
"That sowed the seed for me, it's one of the reasons I wanted to meet and learn from the owners I played with for years, but not many NBA players get that seed when they're in high school like I do. "
Even now, when the ownership of the NBA is more diversified than ever, with several controlling owners who are women and international property on the rise, James does not have many partners in his search.
Successful players often become coaches or general managers and, of course, excel in the business world with the money they have earned in their careers. But James, who has a net worth of $ 440 million, according to Forbes, is one of the few who has vocalized his desire to advance to the property level.
"Almost no player has come to me in recent years to seek advice on how I did it," said Perry, who earned an ownership position with the Grizzlies when they moved from Vancouver in 2001 through a relationship with minority owner Staley. Cates. "I've only had a few conversations about it, more players could do it absolutely, and I would have thought there would be more."
With the rise of NBA business, the barrier to entry into ownership is outrageously high. James has done very well financially. At the end of his current four-year contract with the Lakers, he will have won a record $ 390 million in NBA salary. He has won several hundred million Nike and has a lifetime contract with the brand that has the potential to earn him hundreds of millions more. He has made tens of millions of Coca-Cola during 16 years of sponsorship agreements. He acquired an ownership position with Beats headphones that earned him more than $ 50 million when Apple bought the company for $ 3 billion in 2014.
He holds an important position in the Blaze pizza chain and is the central owner of two media companies, SpringHill Entertainment and Uninterrupted, among other investments. He's on his way to being a billionaire.
But you might not have to spend everything on a computer to have ownership power. Former New York Yankees great Derek Jeter has only a 4 percent stake in the Miami Marlins, which investor Bruce Sherman bought in 2017 for $ 1.2 billion. But it is Jeter, who was the face of the offer to buy the team and who directs the Marlins' baseball and commercial operations, acting as the main decision-maker.
That's the kind of agreement that James, who has developed numerous partnerships with wealthy individuals and businesses, could try to get a de facto ownership ownership position in the next decade. James could probably lead a group of owners within days of his retirement if he wanted to.
Finding the right supporters and the right opportunity is another story. Like Jordan, who became a minority owner of the Washington Wizards shortly after his second retirement, is something James is already working on while his playing days are over.
"LeBron has discovered the league and has accepted his career in a unique way," said Perry. "He's tremendously intelligent in the way he behaves on and off the court, it's been intentional and can change the conversation about breaking the roof." [for more players to become owners]. You will find the right place and time. That's what michael [Jordan] He did it and that's how LeBron will do it too. "
THE TIMBERWOLVES HAVE He made two major changes during the season in the hope of shaking up what has been a disappointing list. After a month-long confrontation with Jimmy Butler, they moved him to Philadelphia in November. And in the first week of January, the team fired coach Tom Thibodeau, replacing him with the energetic Ryan Saunders, whom the players seem to love.
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Neither of the two measures has shaken the team from the crisis for a long time. The Wolves had a 9-3 record in their first dozen games after Butler's trade, but they're only 13-18 since then and are heading into Wednesday's game against Houston in 12th in the West and four games in the second. last place in the playoffs. It is fair to say that one of the main pieces of that exchange, Robert Covington, has missed the last 19 games with a serious ankle injury that has contributed to that fall.
The Wolves were 19-21 when Thibodeau was fired and they are 7-9 under Saunders. The team's defense, which has been the culprit for the past few seasons, has lost part since Saunders took over and is allowing almost four more points for every 100 possessions.
Andrew Wiggins, who was expected to receive a boost when Butler moved, is having a miserable shooting season. It has less than 40 percent in general and only 33 percent in mid-range jumpers, the second worst in the league among players with at least 250 attempts, according to ESPN Stats & Information (Russell Westbrook is at 32 percent) . He is throwing a pitiful 48 percent in the paint, the worst of his career. And he does not even get a foul, he only gets 4.4 free throws per game. He averaged seven per game during his second season in 2015-16.
It seems that there is a possibility that owner Glen Taylor will make changes to his head office after the season (the current general manager, Scott Layden, is a Thibodeau contractor), but what can be done with this team is a riddle.
There are some bright spots with Karl-Anthony Towns heading to the All-Star Game and the resurgent season of Derrick Rose. But overall, the season has been a big disappointment after the Wolves broke their 13-year playoff drought last year. They had such an impulse and promise two years ago after acquiring Butler and since then they have only shown flashes.
THE SEATTLE GROUP who tried to buy and relocate the Sacramento Kings in 2012 does not give up. Chris Hansen, the main investor, sent a letter to the mayor of Seattle and the city council once again requesting a street closure that would clear the way for a privately funded scenario for an NBA team in the SoDo district. from the city. The group thought it would win approval for the closure of the street in 2016, but lost a vote on the council.
In December, Seattle was officially awarded an NHL expansion franchise to begin in 2021. The team will play in a massively renewed KeyArena. The operators of the new arena, Oak View Group, have designed the arena to also accommodate an NBA team and believe that a second arena is unnecessary.
Beyond all the political and traffic issues in this matter, the important thing is that these investors still firmly believe that an NBA franchise will land in Seattle in the short term. Hansen's group has taken the position that the income demands for a modern NBA team will make it difficult to share an arena with an NHL team and the Oak View Group.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver continues to reject the expansion at this time. But with the plans underway to allow costumes and services at the NBA level in the new KeyArena and Hansen preparing another offer of sand of a billion dollars, there are many wealthy people in one of the richest cities in the United States that are coming and that an opportunity is coming.