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Be like Mike, LeBron wants to own a NBA team



It has been said that Michael Jordan's decision to sign with Nike was one of the greatest deals in sports history, launching a multibillion-dollar business, helping turn the company into a basketball juggernaut and changing the game for hundreds of athletes who came

In 2010, Jordan made an incredible transaction that might rival it, even if it does not get the attention it deserves . At the time, NBA franchise values ​​had gone backward due to the economy, Charlotte Bobcats owner Bob Johnson was deep in the debt and the NBA was interested in helping Jordan get the ownership of a team after previous attempts failed

The league's brightest stars are assembling in Charlotte from February 15-17

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one of the great team purchases in recent history. Jordan got the Bobcats for a reported value of $ 275 million, but most of it was the assumption of debt. The NBA approved the purchase with Jordan putting up just $ 30 million in cash, according to Charlotte Observer, an arrangement that the league would almost certainly not approve today

Jordan then bought more shares in the team and now owns about 90 percent of the franchise. His ownership has lifted Jordan's net worth by hundreds of millions over the past decade. This month, Forbes estimates the Hornets (now Bobcats) are now worth more than $ 1.2 billion.

The Hornets have typically operated in the red, but are boosted by a robust revenue sharing system that triggers tens of millions to Jordan annually to help make his team profitable. For example, between 2012 and 2017, Jordan's fellow owners have sent him more than $ 130 million in income support.

This week, Jordan will host one of NBA signature events when the All-Star Weekend comes to Charlotte.

When LeBron James arrives to lead Team LeBron against Team Giannis, he will do so with admiration for what Jordan has done.

Michael Jordan's career on and off the court has long been a model for LeBron James . David T. Foster III / Charlotte Observer / MCT via Getty Images

Jordan's maneuvers and deal-making to become the controlling owner of an NBA franchise has captured James' attention anew as James matured from a basketball star to a businessman. 19659002] James and business partner Maverick Carter have made it clear their goal is the sports team ownership in the future. Just as James is hoping to be hosting his own All-Star Weekend.

In fact, James is already a sports team owner. As part of a deal in 2011 with Fenway Sports Group, James received a small percentage of the English soccer powerhouse Liverpool FC. FSG bought the team for $ 477 million shortly before it made the deal with James. The club is now valued at roughly $ 2 billion. "I see LeBron owning multiple teams someday," said Sam Kennedy, Fenway Sports. "Not just NBA, but perhaps international soccer and perhaps in esports." One thing we've learned to work with LeBron is that he sees the big picture, he has a track record of making smart decisions and looking for opportunities. financially, and that's what you have to do to become a sports team owner. "

There are not many former NBA players who have gone on to become owners of NBA teams. Jordan and Magic Johnson, who owned 10 percent of Los Angeles Lakers at one time and is now one of the owners of Los Angeles Dodgers

Grant Hill has a piece of ownership of the Atlanta Hawks and is the team's vice president. Shaquille O'Neal has a small ownership stake in the Sacramento Kings. Elliot Perry has a shareholding in Memphis Grizzlies and is the team's alternate governor.

"I've had the chance to see my father [Calvin] pursue ownership in teams," said Hill, whose father was a Pro Bowl NFL running back and it was a part of the groups that tried to buy the Washington Bullets and New England Patriots

"That's what I planted for the seeds for me. "

Even now when NBA ownership is more diversified than ever, with several controlling owners who are women and international ownership on the rise, James does not have many peers in his pursuit

Successful players often go on to become coaches or general managers and, of course, excel in the business world with the money they have made in their career. 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 ownership level.

"Almost no players have come to me over the years to seek council how did it, "said Perry, who gained an ownership position with the Grizzlies when they moved from Vancouver in 2001 through a relationship with minority owner Staley Cates. "With the NBA's business booming, the barrier of entry to become an owner," he said, is outrageously high. James has done very well financially. By the end of his current four-year contract with the Lakers, he will have earned a record $ 390 million in NBA salary. He has earned several hundred million from 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 over 16 years of endorsement deals. He earned an ownership position with Beats headphones that made him more than $ 50 million when Apple bought the company for $ 3 billion in 2014.

He has a large position in the Blaze Pizza chain and is a central owner in two media companies, SpringHill Entertainment and Uninterrupted, among other investments. He is on his way to being a billionaire.

But he might not have spent it all on a team outright to have ownership power. Former New York Yankees great Derek Jeter reported just 4 percent share of Miami Marlins, which investor Bruce Sherman bought in 2017 for $ 1.2 billion. But it's Jeter, who was the face of the bid to buy the team and who runs Marlins' baseball and business operations, acting as lead decision maker.

That's the type of deal that James has developed numerous partnerships with wealthy individuals and companies, might seek to gain a de facto controlling ownership position within the next decade. James would probably be able to front a property group within days of his retirement if he wanted.

Finding the right backers and right opportunity is another story. Like Jordan, who became a minority owner of the Washington Wizards shortly after his second retirement, it's something James is already working on as his playing days wind down.

"LeBron has figured out the league and took his ahold of his career in a unique way, "Perry said. "He's tremendously smart in the way he runs on and off the court." It's been intentional, and he can change the conversation about cracking the ceiling [for more players to become owners] He will find the right place and time. "


The Timberwolves seem to be headed back to the NBA loterie again this season. David Sherman / NBAE via Getty Images

THE TIMBERWOLVES HAVE made two major changes during the season hoping to shake up what has been a disappointing roster. After a monthlong standoff with Jimmy Butler, they traded 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 measure has shaken the team from the doldrums for long. The Wolves went 9-3 in their first dozen games after the Butler trade but they are just 13-18 since and head to Wednesday's game against Houston in 12th place in the West and four games out of the last playoff spot. Robert Covington has missed the past 19 games with a severe ankle injury that has contributed to that slide

The Wolves were 19-21 when Thibodeau was let go and has 7-9 under Saunders. The team's defense, which has been a culprit during the past few seasons, has slipped some since Saunders took over and is allowing nearly four more points per 100 possessions.

Andrew Wiggins, who was expected to get a boost when Butler was moved , is having a miserable shooting season. He's shooting under 40 percent overall and just 33 percent on midrange jumpers, second worst in the league among players with at least 250 attempts, according to ESPN Stats & Information (Russell Westbrook is at 32 percent). He's shooting a woeful 48 percent in the paint, the worst of his career. And he's not even getting fouled – he gets just 4.4 free throws per game.

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There are few bright spots with Karl-Anthony Towns headed for the All-Star Game and Derrick Rose's resurgent season. But overall, the season has been a huge letdown after the Wolves broke their 13-year playoff drought last year. They had such a momentum and promise two years ago after acquiring Butler and they have only rarely shown flashes since


THE SEATTLE GROUP that attempted to buy and relocate the Sacramento Kings in 2012 is not giving up. Chris Hansen, the lead investor, has sent a letter to the Seattle Mayor and City Council once again asking for a street closure that would clear the way for a privately funded arena for a NBA team in the city's SoDo district.

In December, Seattle was officially awarded an NHL expansion franchise to start in 2021. The team will play in a massively rebuilt KeyArena. The operators of the new arena, Oak View Group, have designed the arena to accommodate a NBA team as well and believe that a second arena is unnecessary.

Beyond all the politics and traffic issues in this matter, what is important seems to be these investors still firmly believe that a NBA franchise will land in Seattle in the near term. Hansen's group has taken the position that the revenue requirements for a modern NBA team will make it hard to share an arena with an NHL team and Oak View Group.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver continues to dismiss expansion at the current time. But with plans in place to allow for NBA-level locker rooms and amenities in the new KeyArena and Hansen readying another billion-dollar arena bid, there's a lot of wealthy folks in one of America's most wealthy cities hedging that a chance is coming [19659043]
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