In his capacity as a Columnist for California Sports Lawyer®, Founder Jeremy Evans has written a column about NBA icon and businessman, Michael Jordan, following his sale of the Charlotte Hornets and potential next deals.
You can read the full column below.
Michael Jordan, the iconic basketball player and ambassador of the game of basketball and good investments. Namely, Michael betting on himself and believing in his work ethic and skills developed from training and dedication. Michael will and would never be outworked. Nearly every sports fan at one point or another has wanted to ‘Be Like Mike’ as reflected in the iconic Gatorade commercial.
As displayed in the film “Air” with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, the plot recalls the story of Michael and his parents pushing Nike and Nike pushing themselves to broker a never before seen shoe deal that gave the His Airness a flat fee of $500,000 per year, plus 5% of the Jordan brand earnings every year. At the time, Nike was a distant third in the National Basketball Association (“NBA”) or sports shoe business behind Converse and Adidas. Nike now owns Converse. Michael wanted to sign with Adidas, Ervin “Magic” Johnson and Larry Bird had both signed with Converse, and the brand wanted to create a “big three” with the three iconic names.
Michael saw it differently, and the Jordan brand with Nike was created. Michael reached billionaire status in 2014 and continues to bring in $200 million or more per year from the Jordan brand, which reaches multiple athletes and sports. Magic Johnson has been quoted as saying that passing on Nike was one of the biggest business mistakes of his career. That being said, Magic has clearly made great business decisions and is now a minority owner with the Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB), Los Angeles Sparks (WNBA), LAFC (MLS), and now the Washington Commanders (NFL). Michael originally purchased the Charlotte Hornets (NBA) (formerly the Bobcats) for $275 million dollars in 2010 as the majority owner. He just sold his majority ownership stake in the franchise for $3 billion dollars, while he still retains a minority ownership stake and will be involved in basketball operations and front office decision-making.
Michael will be remembered as the G.O.A.T. in basketball, although he would never claim that title himself. Michael is also the first former player to become an owner in one of the big five professional sports leagues in America. Michael’s sale of the Hornets for $3 billion dollars is worth double and a half of his current net worth of $2 billion dollars. Michael now projects a net worth of $5 billion dollars. Michael, by far, is the wealthiest professional athlete of all-time.
NASCAR + Formula 1
Where does Michael go from here? He still holds a majority ownership over the NASCAR racing team, 23XI, aptly driven by No. 23 Bubba Wallace and No. 45 Tyler Reddick, Jordan’s former numbers during his NBA playing days. There is tremendous growth in racing and especially Formula 1. Michael has a great fondness of F1 driver Lewis Hamilton and a deal for an F1 team could be explored. The entrance fee of $200 million dollars into F1 team ownership is $75 million less than the cost of Michael’s original purchase of the Charlotte Hornets franchise. Time will tell if the investment doors are opened.
Major League Baseball ("MLB")
The Washington Nationals (MLB) are rumored to be for sale and valued at $2.5 billion dollars (with a higher sale price a near certainty). Michael once played for the Washington Wizards (NBA) after his illustrious career with the Chicago Bulls (NBA). Michael also famously left the NBA during the prime of his basketball career to start a baseball career working his way through the Chicago White Sox (MLB minor league system following the tragic loss of his father to fulfill his father’s dream of his son playing professional baseball. Michael has a passion for the game, but also has interest in the National Hockey League (“NHL”) and other leagues. Although not rumored to be on the proverbial table, the sale of the Los Angeles Angels to Michael Jordan or a group including or led by Michael would be an internet breaker. The Angels were valued at $2.7 billion dollars in 2023, but would likely be sold for much more breaking the $3 billion mark.
Needless to say, this is all guesswork. Michael has established a great reputation as an investor and example to the next and current generation of athletes. It is wonderful to highlight his efforts and successes to this point and will be exciting to what he does next with his goal of bringing a championship to a professional sports franchise.
About Jeremy M. Evans:
Jeremy M. Evans is the Chief Entrepreneur Officer, Founder & Managing Attorney at California Sports Lawyer®, representing entertainment, media, and sports clients in contractual, intellectual property, and dealmaking matters. Evans is an award-winning attorney and industry leader based in Los Angeles and Newport Beach, California. He can be reached at Jeremy@CSLlegal.com. www.CSLlegal.com.
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