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.