CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The sale of the majority stake of the Charlotte Hornets from six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan to Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall has been finalized, the team announced Thursday.
The Hornets planned to introduce Plotkin and Schnall at a news conference later in the day.
Jordan, who has owned the team for the past 13 years, said in a news release that it was a “tremendous honor” to own the Hornets but didn’t give an explanation for why he sold the franchise.
He will remain on as a minority owner.
“I’m proud of all that the organization accomplished: the exciting on-court moments, the return of the Hornets name, Charlotte hosting the 2019 NBA All-Star Game and HSE (Hornets Sports and Entertainment) becoming a true pillar of this community,” Jordan said. “Through the years, the unwavering commitment, passion and loyalty of our Hornets fans has been incredible. As I transition into a minority ownership role, I’m thrilled to be able to pass the reins to two successful, innovative and strategic leaders in Gabe and Rick.”
Jordan added: “I know the Hornets organization is in great hands moving forward. I’m excited about the future of the team and will continue to support the organization and the community in my new role in the years ahead.”
The Hornets never won a playoff series under Jordan and haven’t been to the postseason in the last seven seasons, the longest drought in the NBA.
“We want to thank Michael for this opportunity, as well as his support throughout this process,” Plotkin and Schnall said in a joint statement. “During his ownership, he brought stability to the Hornets franchise, achieved many business milestones, reconnected and reinvested in the Charlotte community and has the organization positioned for greater success. We look forward to building upon this success in the years to come.”
They said their vision is to the take the Hornets to the “next level,” both on and off the court.
“We will look to build a highly competitive basketball team, develop innovative business practices, give back to our community and connect with our fans,” the new owners said. “We plan to further invest in the team, the facilities and the fan experience, with the goal of delivering a winner to our fans throughout the Carolinas. We are confident that our successful business backgrounds and our previous experience as NBA minority owners will be beneficial as we shape the future of the franchise as a best-in-class organization.”
Plotkin and Schnall will serve as co-chairmen of HSE and will rotate the team’s governorship every five years, beginning with Schnall.
Schnall has been a minority owner of the Atlanta Hawks and also has served as the alternate governor on the NBA Board of Governors since 2015. He was involved in various aspects of the Hawks’ team-building process as well as the renovations to State Farm Arena. He is co-president of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice LLC, where he has worked for 27 years.
Plotkin will serve as co-chairman & alternate governor. He originally acquired a minority stake in the Hornets in 2019. He has been an alternate governor on the NBA Board of Governors since 2019. He is the founder and chief investment officer of Tallwoods Capital LLC.
The Hornets’ new ownership group also includes Chris Shumway, Dan Sundheim, Ian Loring, Andrew Schwartzberg, Dyal Home Court Partners, North Carolina natives recording artist J. Cole and country music singer-songwriter Eric Church, and several local Charlotte investors, including Amy Levine Dawson and Damian Mills, among others.