Bob Johnson Looks to Sell the Charlotte Bobcats
Well, I don't think anyone's surprised by this.
Bob Johnson, the founder and principal owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, is looking to sell the team ASAP. Johnson hired an investment banker to help facilitate a sale of the team. According to sources in the NBA and the Charlotte Observer, Johnson wants his initial investment back of some $330 million for the team.
The big question, of course, is whether Michael Jordan will put together a deal to take over the team, a goal he seems to have had since he purchased a stake in the team a few years ago.
As a resident of Charlotte since 2005, I've not been impressed with the way Johnson has dealt with the city and business leaders in Charlotte.
Johnson was able to get a taxpayer-funded arena built, but only sold naming rights last year after taking millions in losses on both the arena and the team. Forbes Magazine recently valued the team at $284 million and that's not the number Johnson wants to sell.
Johnson has complained that the Charlotte-area business community hasn't supported him and the team enough. I think this was the wrong way to build relationships.
Charlotte can enthusiastically support an NBA team. The Hornets led the NBA in attendance for several years in the old Charlotte Coliseum but were undone by a crook of an owner, George Shinn. That left a very bad taste in the mouths of fans.
On top of that, the arena deal was met with controversy, so fans have been slow to support an expansion team.
If it takes a new owner with more patience to support the team and nurture relationships, so be it. We don't need an NBA version of what is going on with the Phoenix Coyotes right now.
It doesn't matter if Jordan steps up or another prominent businessman yearning to play ball at this level steps up (come on, Bruton Smith, as suggested on a radio show Friday). They'll be an improvement over Bob Johnson.
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