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Michael Jordan’s Gambling Addiction Led To His Sale Of NBA Franchise Charlotte Hornets

Joe Lyons
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Last month, Michael Jordan was forced to sell his majority stake in the Charlotte Hornets for an approximately $3 billion due to his obsession with gambling.

The sale ended Jordan’s 13-year run as the majority owner of the franchise and the decision was rumoured to be out of his own hands as he struggled to pay off debts.

The 60-year-old is widely known as a keen gambler and was often betting with teammates and coaches on the Chicago Bulls throughout his time in the NBA.

His father’s death and initial retirement from the league have been linked to his gambling issues, though neither of these theories have ever been proven.

The story, as told by Frank Michael Smith, details how Jordan’s investment in the world’s largest retail gaming and trade-in destination – GameStop – led to his sale of the Hornets.

The six-time NBA Champion took his vast wealth to the stock market after a minority owner of the Hornets, Gabe Plotkin, used his company Melvin Capital’s hedge fund to bet on GameStop’s ‘seemingly guaranteed demise’.

Plotkin convinced MJ to ‘hammer’ GameStop and soon after the pop culture icon had $500 million on GameStop to burn to the ground.

Jordan took out a loan against his most valuable asset, the Hornets franchise, and when retail investors launched the short-squeeze, he and all the other hedge fund guys found themselves stuck with huge monthly interest rate payments.

He was left with just a handful of choices to save his fortune, including continuing with the outrageous monthly debt payments or come up with a significant lump sum of cash to rid his problems once and for all.

His only viable option was to sell the Charlotte Hornets, bought by none other than Gabe Plotkin. Jordan made a huge return on his initial investment in the team of $180 million, bagging over $2 billion in profit.

Joe Lyons
Joe Lyons

Joe Lyons is a sports betting writer with years of experience on reputable sports and gambling websites SportsLens, Basketball Insiders and Business2Community. Joe has also been published by Nottingham Forest FC, working with the academy and senior teams to produce content on matchdays. He formerly covered the Premier League and EFL as an on-site reporter during the 2020/21 season for Prost International. He is an expert in a range of sports including soccer, basketball, darts and American football. Joe specialises in long form SEO content alongside news, tips and betting. His sports betting work can be found on SportsLens and Basketball Insiders. Joe has a keen eye for the sports betting industry in the USA which covers the NBA and NFL, tracking and analysing the market as it changes throughout the season.