*The NBA has approved Michael Jordan’s bid to buy the Charlotte Bobcats, and commissioner David Stern expects the league’s board of governors to approve the $275 million purchase by the end of next week, the AP reported.
Jordan will become the first former player to own an NBA team and the second black majority owner behind Bob Johnson, who has lost tens of millions of dollars annually.
“He considers himself a North Carolina native and he’s quite anxious to make this team into an important part of the community,” Stern told the AP. “I think he has the capacity and the will to do that. I think he’s the right majority owner at the right time.”
Stern said the league updated its background and financial checks on Jordan and found nothing to stop the deal. Stern said the six-time NBA champion is the sole investor in the ownership group for now, but expects him to try to find local partners.
Jordan is putting up all the cash in the deal, which is for less than the $300 million Johnson paid for the expansion franchise that began play in the 2004-05 season. The deal includes taking on more than $150 million in debt, covering future losses and putting millions more in capital to make improvements.
The Bobcats are expected to lose about $30 million this season.
The 47-year-old NBA legend has been a part-owner of the Bobcats and has had the final say on all basketball decisions since 2006. It was a return home for Jordan, who grew up in Wilmington, N.C., and led North Carolina to the national championship before winning five league MVP awards with the Chicago Bulls.
The deal means the end of a money-losing run for Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television who saw the value of the team decline. The Bobcats have struggled to sell tickets and secure sponsorships since the NBA returned to Charlotte following the Hornets’ departure to New Orleans in 2002.