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One-on-one with Bobcats Majority Owner Michael Jordan

NBAE / Getty Images
Michael Jordan's was approved as Bobcats Majority Owner on March 17

March 18, 2010

Jordan approved as Bobcats Majority Owner | Behind-the-scenes gallery with Michael Jordan | Watch entire press conference with Michael Jordan

The National Basketball Association's (NBA) Board of Governors voted unanimously to approve the purchase by Michael Jordan of a majority interest in Bobcats Sports & Entertainment (BSE) on March 17, 2010.

Jordan sat down with to discuss taking ownership of the team. Why are you interested in owning this team?

Michael Jordan: Iíve been here in Charlotte as a minority owner for three years. Bob Johnson asked me to come in and help with the basketball side, and when I realized he was interested in selling, the opportunity to buy presented itself and I began to evaluate it closely. After I stopped playing basketball, my dream was to become the majority owner of a team, not just a minority owner, so I kept my options open in case Bob didnít want to sell.

But the Carolinas are home, and I think that coming back and doing all I can to build a competitive team and provide a great experience is a good way of giving back to the fans who have supported me throughout my career. I look forward to bringing my kids and family here and building a legacy as an owner. Do you plan to be more visible here in Charlotte?

Michael Jordan: Yes, I plan to be here more often than I have been in the past. When I joined Bob as a minority investor, my role was to oversee basketball operations. Now that I'm the principal owner, I understand the commitment Iíve made and know the responsibilities are different. I'm up for that challenge. Are you going to make this your home?

Michael Jordan: The Carolinas never stopped being home to me. I plan to spend more time here, but I also have family in Chicago and other commitments that require me to spend time elsewhere. How involved will you be with the day-to-day business operations of the team?

Michael Jordan: I'll do whatever I can to make this team a success both on and off the court. Everyone needs to be focused on our goal: building a winning franchise. How will your ownership style differ from that of Mr. Johnsonís?

Michael Jordan: I plan to be very hands-on with this business. For me thereís a personal dimension to owning this team. I'm doing this because Carolina is, and always has been, home for me, and basketball is my main business. Iím also the first player to become the principal owner of a team, and that gives me a different perspective on ownership than anyone else in the league. How is your role as owner different from that of Managing Member of Basketball Operations?

Michael Jordan: Obviously, I now have to focus on the business side of the franchise and help grow that like Iíve done with the basketball side. But as the owner I have to rely on, work closely with, and trust the people I have in place Ė Fred Whitfield and Rod Higgins and the rest of my senior executive team Ė and listen to their recommendations on a variety of issues before making final decisions, both on the basketball and business sides. I am now the final decision-maker. Why should fans and sponsors support this team?

Michael Jordan: I don't expect anyone to support us blindly or just because Iím the owner. I think if we can put a winning team on the floor, focus on creating a winning atmosphere and good time for our fans, and be active in this community then we'll have earned people's support, and that's what we all want.

I also believe this arena is important to making uptown Charlotte economically vibrant, and thatís good for everyone. Sports and entertainment play an important role in civic pride. Whether itís basketball or the best concerts and family shows on tour, I want people in the community to take pride in what weíre doing here. This is a basketball state and we owe it to people to build a strong connection between them and this team. We also owe it to people from across the Carolinas to make this arena the premiere destination for sports and entertainment, no matter what their interests are. Will you be changing the team name?

Michael Jordan: Itís an option we could consider down the road. Weíll evaluate everything, but for now, no. What changes, if any, need to happen in order for this to be a perennial playoff team?

Michael Jordan: Weíre on the right track with a great coaching staff, and weíre starting to understand what itís like to play as a team. I like the team we've built over the past two years. We have a Hall of Fame coach in Larry Brown and we're really starting to build a homecourt advantage.

We also have to remember that this group has only been together for a few weeks, and they're learning to play with each other on the fly, in the midst of a playoff push. Continuity is the biggest thing, and I think we'll get that moving forward. I want to do everything I can to keep this franchise going in the right direction. Are you willing to pay the luxury tax in order to add an impact player?

Michael Jordan: Right now, no. Iím not sure we need to take that risk at this time. If we become a perennial playoff team, then it may make sense to exceed the luxury tax, but it will depend on the situation. Weíre not going to exceed the luxury tax just for the sake of it. But if there's a player who can make a real difference for us and that puts us into luxury tax territory, then itís something we might consider. Are you interested in extending Larry Brownís contract?

Michael Jordan: Larry has supported me and I support Larry. One of the reasons that Larry came here is because of our relationship. I want to keep Larry as long as heíll stay here. How do you answer criticism of your past player personnel decisions?

Michael Jordan: I tend not to worry about the critics, because they're not the ones who have to make the tough decisions.

When I first got to Washington, people didnít understand the financial position that team was facing. In Washington we put together a five year plan that included clearing huge salaries off the books to create cap flexibility, and building a roster that would become a playoff contender. In just three years, we went from almost $22 million over the cap to more than $8 million under, and traded veterans with big contracts for young talent. In year five, with a roster made up mostly of guys we brought in, they made the playoffs.

In Charlotte, I think with the trades we've made here and the hiring of a Hall of Fame coach, we're ahead of the curve and we're right there in playoff contention. In three years here, we went from being a losing team to being on the verge of making the playoffs.

BuzLtYr (Charlotte)
Please change the team name. Bob Johnson deserves nothing for his performance in Charlotte. Bobcat sounds as intimidating as the Charlotte Chipmunks. As an owner maybe you can cut a deal to get New Orleans name Jazz back from Utah and we get the Hornets back too. Good luck!

Nurollah (Phillipines)
Its a great honor for MJ for having the team owner of the Bobcats, i am a number one fan of MJ, that's why i am a fan of Bobcats now.

mike has earned it

Freedom Fighter (Charlotte, NC)
Welcome Mr. Jordan,
We apologize for your partner, Mr. Johnson. He seems to have forgotten that the people of Charlotte built that beautiful new arena for him, against our own wishes. Please remind him that we can't help small business because we helped his huge business!
Good luck to you and the Bobcats

goldenstaes (New York, New York)
here's the outlook with MJ in the picture.
2010-Jordan majority owner, Bobcats first playoff, wins first round.
2011-Charlotte Bobcats change name to Charlotte Diamonds, acquire 3 impact player, reach Conference Finals.
2012-Charlotte Diamonds in NBA Finals, Game 7, fans in tears.. MJ in tears..
hope MJ see this. Best wishes :)

Judith Holiday (Rock Hill, SC)
I started comments and somehow they got lost. I support Michael Jordan as the the Charlotte Bobcats owner and Larry Brown as the Head Coach. I agree we must work together. The letter in the Charlotte Observer today was brilliant and necessary. When a business goes into a new community or has a change of ownership, relationships must be developed and nurtured (has not happened in the past). I believe working together, the Charlotte Bobcats will be successful (winning helps greatly). I grew up in the old Southwest Conference (Texas raised) where football was king, but they have developed great basketball teams at all levels. I learned about basketball when living in Charlottesville, VA (ACC basketball). I continue to this day to learn things I do not know, but enjoy being a fan. Welcome, Michael and the Charlotte Bobcats staff to a new day in Charlotte.

Jack (Charlotte, NC)
Dear Michael . I have a suggestion for you. Please help the Charlotte Library in its hour of need. You have done so much for this area. A contribution from you could help so many. Thanks for your consideration and see you at the games

Air_Jordan_2010_23 (Charlotte, NC)
Now that his Airness own the team. Could please chnag ethe Team name to Charlotte Air Jordans and Air jordan Symbol being the official logo of the team. I can guarantee you record revenues and forever Cherished team in history of NBA. If they don't do as well in number of championship. Looking forward in hearing form you;)MJ Fan!

polychrome (Huntersville, NC)
If you change the name, go with the Charlotte Pride (Lions). Another cat name, but with a lot more "pride" instilled in our city. Thanks!

Lee Gates (San Francisco, CA)

As a life-long Chicagoan now living in LA who grew up on the Bulls before and during MJ's career, I can safely say that as long as he changes the Bobcats name, I'll buy their gear and support their team.

Tommy (Poland)
The only thing that comes to my mind seconds after reading is that the frnachise has the right person on the right place. Extending the contract of Larry Brown must be a priority. I'm pretty sure that the Cats will make tha playoffs. bless.

Angelo (Atlanta, GA)
I'm not a Bobcats fan. I don't dislike them, but I'm just a fan. I happen to be a Cavs fan and am enjoying the success of a franchise that I've had to watch lose for a LONG time. Anyhow, I must say that I am VERY happy for Bobcat fans. MJ is one of the classiest guys in the business, and I think that he will do everything in his power to make your team successful. Best of luck Charlotte, and best of luck #23!

Ken (NC)
MJ, I am 100% confidence that you will make Botcats a successfully team. What I think your team need is to sign Dwayne Wade, I know it is a wishful thinking but if anybody can pull it off, it is the MJ that we all know.

Ivan Kamajay (Denpasar, Bali)
MJ is always being my hero. With this step, he is moving from the best "general" into a little king. I wish him the best to be the "emperor"

Solar Power (Singapore)
I'm now Bobcats Fan! Go MJ

ross (Burlington, NC)
i like this team but in marketing this team i think he needs to put the Jordan brand on this team when marketing it some how get a great playoff push this year that being said i heard on espn this team is losing money he needs to put his stamp on this team i know how much people love his shoes he needs nike support in marketing this team i say do change the name to flight as in seen put that emblem from your shoe on the jersey the colors you have to decide

eric (Easton, MD)
mj is the greatest.he will make the bobcats winners and dont be susprised if big names want to play for mj this spring and every spring.who wouldnt want to?

MJfan23 (Anniston, AL)
MJ is the greatest bball player/sports athlete ever! I want to wish him great success as now the owner of Charlotte. I will be cheering on the Bobcats in Alabama! Great Article..I enjoyed it!

Big b from unc (Monroe, NC)
i have been watching the bobcats from their inception bob made alot of mistakes but i think the team is on the track now and i wish you guys a lot of luck the team is greatly improved and is playing well go bobcats! go heels!

congrats mj for ur dream come true hope it be a sucess also please add some changes the website

Cats fan (Newport News, VA)
Were happy to have you as our owner MJ!!!! From the fans...

bringbackoldschoolbasketball (Atlanta, GA)
I followed Michael Jordan, since he made the winning shoot against Georgetown Univ 1982..I hope, that when I retired from my regular job. I would apply to seek Sport Management Position & hope I will be for MJ's Flight23 Basketball team.

CZonChamps (Lumberton, NC)
Bobcats and Michael Jordan. Today marks history and many championships to come. Wish you and us all the best. I will be an up and coming season ticket holder and I look forward to it. I was a previous holder and enjoyed it with great pleasure. Go Bobcats!!! Go MJ!!!

IQ (Montreal, Quebec)
First and foremost I would like to congratulate Mr. Jordan on being the first player ever to become a majority owner.
I think the franchise' future has never looked brighter as it does now. I think that Mike with the help of his executive team has put together the begining of a very strong foundation which will, in the long run, make this team bound for the playoffs. I am looking forward to seeing Jordan's impact on the business side of things as his first goal is to boost revenues and make a dent in the 150 million dollar deficit. Secondly I am anxious to see the young players respond to his presence and take in the vast amount of knowledge he has to offer.
I wish Mike, coach Brown, the players and the franchise nothing but success.

McGruder (Raleigh, NC)
I really like this one on one segment with Michael. I have went to 2 bobcats home games this year( LA Lakers and Orlando Magic) and the team looks very good and is moving in the right direction with the hiring of Larry Brown and going out and getting Stephan Jackson and Tyrus Thomas these 3 have made a huge difference.

Myleson (Chicago, IL)
Michael Jordan entire career to me is amazing. I always wished that I can have the successful track record that he has had in his playing years and now in business. I'm happy for him. I am really am

odraciR (Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico)
Actually I think this is going to be a really good experience and test for Michael Jordan. True hes made mistakes pertaining to drafting and all that, but its just like he says, its difficult decisions that have to be made under a lot of pressure. I congratulate you Mr Jordan on becoming the first ex-player to own a team and I know you can and will do anything to make te best out of this

Carter (Boone, NC)
I am thrilled to have Mr. Jordan as majority owner, and I agree with what he had to say. The Bobcats are headed in the right direction and are playing great basketball at the right time. Although, I do hope the organization considers changing the name. Charlotte's team should have a name that reflects the history of the Carolinas. It will be even more apporpriate now that His Airness is majority owner, and given the direction the franchise is headed. The Charlotte FLIGHT could be the team to take Charlote and the Carolinas to a higher level in major sport frachise success.

Khalil Malik (Houston, TX)
I am extremely proud to see this day that a former player can be accepted into the ranks of ownership such as Michael Jordan, speaks to the future of the NBA, and gives hope to the dreams of every child to fulfill any dream with patience and perseverance, congratulations Michael to you and yours.

Nav23 (Toronto, Ontario)
First off, I want to congratulate Mr. Jordan for full ownership of the Bobcats. I think it'll be great to see how his competitive nature will carry on to his new team, we've all seen what he has done on the basketball court, now it's time to see what he can do as an owner to make this a winning team. The critics will.. well .. criticize, like they always have in the past, but Mr. Jordan has always proved them wrong, and I won't be surprised if he does the same again with this team. Expect great things to evolve as the years pass on, for the people of Charlotte, remain optimistic, because you are now in good hands. Best of luck, all of you.

javigpalao (Salamanca, Spain)
MJ it's always great, no matter what he does. It's a great bussiness man too, and will make the right decisions for the team. I think right now the roster is very consistent and Larry Brown knows how to win. They're on the Play Off race (without LeBron, Kobe, or Melo)!! Well done!! If they stay heathy, they don't need an impact player. Gerald it's great, Jackson scores, Felton can improve every year, Tyrus and Theo can defend at best, and will be interesting playing at the same time (PF and C) with Diaw leading the 2nd unit. For a perfect picture, MJ sould come back again another 2 years with the 6th man role, ha ha ha. I'm convinced he still can play at pro level and may be better than some (20pts, 4a, 4r, 1s,). And as he said at B.H. of Fame, I can believe MJ playing at 50 and winning the last title and 1st for Charlotte as the greatest of all time tha he is (and then closing some mouths). Love always! And good job!!

Ryan (Cebu City, Philippines)
go mike we will support you!

Chev (Los Angeles, CA)
Hi, I would really like to see North Carolina Bobcats as opposed to current name. That would attract more audiences from the state. It is more closer to the NCAA team that is great. It is much more catchy. NCB North Carolina Bobcats.

richardo (NC)
dont change the name of the team!!!!!!!!!!!!! you will kill the franchise

jmayz12 (NC)
Like the interview but wish you would of asked more questions about his relationships with the players. Like what he thinks of Gerald Wallace? What does he say to Stephen Jackson when he talks to him on the bench? More stuff like that.

benjamin (Batesville, IN)
i think the Bobcats will win an NBA championship bc Michael is a first class guy with a first class attitude. There is no arguing, he is the best, and by him being the best he will make sure he is always the best. He brings leadership and skills to the players that no one else can bring. They will pick his brain and he will mentor each player to be their best. He will find hidden talents in certain players and discover new things that they never thought they could do. Remember Michael got cut from high school team and thats what made him strive to be the best. therefore the no name players and the mediocre guys will feel like they can contribute and then the chemistry will work itself out. he will make them feel part of the team and they will want to work hard. its like a baseball batting coach. Mr. Jordan will be able to watch their every move and critique them... give it 3- 5 yrs and they will be NBA champions.

Ferruccio di Slovenia (Bethesda, MD)
Good luck, Mike, I am so excited about the NBA now that you are officially back, and I am rooting for your team!!

edwinnatal (Charlotte, NC)
i am a import sports fan from philadelphia and to be honest with you i have now become a true fan of the bobcats, not only due to the fact that jordan has become owner (it is a great thing that jordan has become the owner). but also i'm a huge supporter of larry brown after all of his years in philadelphia. im very optimistic about this new bobcats team. the addition of the new players has boosted our moral as far as fans. i have not missed a game since the all-star break and do not tend to miss one either! we needed this here in charlotte! GO BOBCATS!

bobcat4life (Matthews, NC),br> finally Jordan get his due. it is great for the city of Charlotte. i could barly sleep last night. He now needs to get out in the community, and truly make this team a powerhouse in the NBA. Congrats Michael

coder4 (Louisville, KY)
I believe Michael Jordan will make a great owner of the Bobcats .I lived in NC for about 20 years and loved the state .I followed Michael through out his basketball career .Michael is a hard worker and the team will certainly benefit from his experience .

JasonC (Lexington, SC)
This is a very exciting time for the Bobcats and the city of Charlotte. I love that there are doubters out there because I believe that is just the kind of thing Michael will be fueled by as an owner, just as he did as a player. He has done an incredible job in his role so far and now that he has a final say in every aspect of the team's business on and off the court we will really see just what he is capable of.

808Man (Hawaii)
Well, congratulation to the people of North Carolina especially to the new owner of the Charlotte Basketball Organization- Micheal Jordan. I have been a fan for many years for MJ and I believe he'll make a big impact for his team and his home town. He is a winner and he will change the team to a championship contender. Congratulation again. I will follow the team. It might not be this year 3 to 5 years. Mahalo

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