Opinion: Michael Jordan should sell the Hornets to a Raleigh based Buyer
333 East Trade Center is the address of the Spectrum Center, and it has hosted tons of huge artists for concerts including Queen led by Adam Lambert, Elton John, Kendrick Lamar and Fleetwood Mac. However, none of those are the arena’s main tenants; that honor belongs to the Charlotte Hornets, one of the NBAs’ 1988 expansion teams. The Hornets were formed as an expansion team in 1988 along with the Miami Heat. The Hornets were acquired by Charlotte businessman Goerge Shinn and stayed in his holdings for nearly thirty years until 2010 when UNC, NBA, and Charlotte legend Michael Jordan acquired Shinns’ controlling share of the team making himself the new owner, and ever since then the Hornets have been a disappointment. They have a win-loss record of 393-545 and have only had four winning seasons in ten years. Many factors can be attributed to this team being so disappointing (lots of draft busts, bad coaching), but there is one glaring issue: Michael Jordan over meddling in the team. Yet, this could change if he decided to sell his team to a Raleigh-based buyer.
Now you may be wondering “why Raleigh?” Well there are three large reasons. The first reason is that Raleigh already has the money and infrastructure to support a professional sports team; proof of this is the Carolina Hurricanes. Canes games in PNC arena are almost always sold out, and Canes fans sold out the largest hockey game ever in North Carolina in the Stadium Series (link your article). All of this is just from hockey, only the fourth largest sport market in America. Another reason the infrastructure is there is that two blue blood Blood Universities and NC State are in the immediate vicinity of where the franchise could be.
The second is that the Raleigh metro population, Durham, and Chapel Hill are all growing at an exponential rate. With Lenovo, Google, Apple, and many other large tech companies as well as the tens of thousands of university students at NC state, UNC, and Duke all of who will graduate and might stay to earn high-paying jobs, all of this cash in the area is another reason to move the Hornets into Raleigh.
The third reason is that Raleigh and the Metro Area surrounding it is full of local talent. This is not to say that Charlotte isn’t home to the 4A Boys basketball championships and max preps number 24 team in the country Myers Park High School. But the Raleigh metro area has the 4A women’s state champions Panther Creek, max preps #25 basketball school in North Carolina Millbrook, as well a member of this year’s playoff final four: Holly Springs High School.
All that being said, some of you might be thinking, “Who in Raleigh has the money to afford the purchase and movement of a NBA franchise?” Well here are a few.
Hurricanes Holding LLC: Hurricanes Holding, LLC, as you may assume, owns the Carolina Hurricanes and owns PNC Arena. It could sell part of their Hurricanes ownership to Michael Jordan for his controlling interest in the Hornets.
Tom Sweeney: Tom Sweeney is the Owner of Epic Games, and while some of you may be thinking Fortnite is Epic Games largest product, it actually is the software program Unreal engine actually is bringing in one billion dollars annually and being used all over the entertainment industry. Tom Sweeney could use his own money as well as sell parts of ownership to Michael Jordan for a controlling share in the Hornets.
The last option is unique, but the City of Raleigh as well as the surrounding towns could all put up money to buy the Charlotte Hornets. It’s already worked with the Green Bay Packers who haven’t had a game that wasn’t sold out since the 1970s. Not only would it make it harder to move the team out of the city in the future. But it could also bring more fan and local interest like the college basketball teams in Duke and UNC who have tens of thousands of devoted loyal fans in their universities and millions of fans all over the country.
All this being said, will any of this ever happen? Probably not but personally I think it could and probably should. If North Carolina can compete for championships in college and other professional sports, it’s about time we start competing for championships in basketball, too.