Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Struggles Of Bob and MJ

BET founder Bob Johnson purchased the NBA Charlotte Bobcats in 2004, naming NBA legend Michael Jordan as his president of basketball operations as well as an investor in the franchise. 4 years into the venture, the Bobcats continue to struggle, although with Larry Brown as their new coach, they appear to be making progress with their young talent.

Johnson is a self made billionaire, and Jordan is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Both are notorious for not wanting to lose money in business ventures, and obviously with their wealth they're both successful businessmen. With the Bobcats at present apparently a financial albatross, the Charlotte Observer is reporting that Johnson may look to move the team or sell it within 5 years as indicated below:

There is a question in some minds as to whether the Bobcats will still be in Charlotte five years from now.
Now in their fifth season, they are still struggling to develop any momentum within the community.
“It seems like to me that within the next five years, (owner Bob Johnson) will either sell the franchise for someone to move or move it himself,” said Max Muhleman, the sports marketing consultant who helped bring the Charlotte Hornets and Carolina Panthers to town.
“Losing money is never fun, no matter how much you've got. He has made a major effort here. I think it's precarious.”
If the Bobcats are to succeed in five years, team President Fred Whitfield believes it will be because the franchise will have taken an active and aggressive role in community affairs, and the team's on-court performance will have improved.
“We have a big task ahead,” Whitfield said.
He insists the team is not for sale despite rumors.
“Bob (Johnson) has made a public statement that he's not selling the team,” Whitfield said.
Having already seen one NBA franchise leave the city, losing another could have serious negative consequences.
Developer Harris said, “Clearly we have to get the Bobcats on a firm footing. We do that in two ways. We have to work hard on our side supporting Bob and his ownership group, and the NBA has to do something about its product to make it more appealing.”

According to, the Bobcats have a current value of $277 million, with Johnson having purchased the team for $300 million. Hopefully Johnson will realize that he's playing with the "big boys" and give the city of Charlotte a fair chance. Johnson is the only black owner of a Major Sports Franchise, and with that comes major responsibility as a role model.

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