CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Charlotte Bobcats are for sale and Michael Jordan is interested.
First, he has to put an ownership group together.
Addressing the issue on Thursday night for the first time since the news last month that majority owner Bob Johnson is seeking to sell, Jordan shied away from going into detail about his plans. But Jordan, who holds a minority stake in the team and runs basketball operations, made it clear he'd like to gain majority control.
"I would like to put together a team to do that, yeah," Jordan said.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The News & Observer
Jordan then quickly turned the attention back to his selection of Gerald Henderson of Duke with the 12th pick in the NBA draft and didn't take further questions on the ownership issue.
It remains unclear if Jordan is close to securing the investors and money needed to buy the team, for which Johnson paid $300 million.
Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television, became the first black majority owner of a major professional sports team when he was awarded the expansion team in 2003.
But the club, which began play in 2004-05 season, has struggled to sell tickets and sponsorships and Johnson has lost millions.
Johnson is using a New York-based sports financial services firm in hopes of either securing more investors or selling the team outright.
Jordan's star quality in his home state could help boost the franchise, but it's uncertain if he could agree with Johnson on a price.
Forbes magazine recently valued the team at $284 million, less than Johnson's expansion fee. The team plays in a city hard hit by the financial crisis, and the credit crunch could hurt any deal of that magnitude.
However, the team also keeps all profits from the downtown Charlotte arena it operates and the Bobcats have improved on the court. Jordan hired Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown last year and he guided the Bobcats to a 35-47 record, the best in the franchise's five seasons.