- The Washington Times - Friday, June 16, 2006

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Michael Jordan became part-owner of the Charlotte Bobcats yesterday in a deal that gives him a stake in most of majority partner Robert Johnson’s ventures.

Jordan’s investment makes him second only to Johnson as the largest individual owner of the Bobcats.

Johnson, who spent $300 million on the expansion Bobcats in 2002, said Jordan will be the managing member of basketball operations.

“I’m thrilled to have my friend, Michael Jordan, join me in my business and sports pursuits,” Johnson said in a statement. “I not only respect Michael for his basketball knowledge and expertise, but also for his business skills, particularly in branding and marketing.

“Michael will provide invaluable management input to a Bobcats team that is poised to deliver results for the 2006-2007 season and beyond.”

Jordan, who led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships and won five MVP awards, bought into Johnson’s existing portfolio. The founder of BET has financial interests in several media, entertainment and financial services, and became the first black owner in the NBA when he beat out a Larry Bird-backed group for Charlotte’s new team.

He tried from the get-go to bring Jordan into the fold, offering him any position he wanted with the team — except majority owner. Jordan eventually passed, citing his desire to pursue ownership in his own team.

Now, with Johnson in the midst of a major management shake-up on his fledgling team, he’s bringing in the greatest NBA player ever to help.

“I’m excited to join Bob, and invest alongside one of the most astute businessmen I know,” Jordan said. “I am also looking forward to providing my advice, where needed, to Bobcats management in order to put the best possible team on the court.”

The move comes two weeks after Johnson began a house-cleaning project that ousted team president and CEO Ed Tapscott, followed by the firings of the top marketing and operations officers.

With Jordan now in the mix, Johnson will have one of the most beloved sports figure in state history by his side.

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