Charlotte Hornets owner and baseball lover Michael Jordan may be branching out soon to become an investor in the Miami Marlins.
Jordan is part of a group of about 15 investors, organized by former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, bidding to buy the Marlins, according to a report in the New York Post. The report says the group is closing in on buying the Marlins for about $1.2 billion. Jordan, the Post reported, would not make a large financial investment in the purchase.
Jordan and Jeter have long been acquainted, with Jeter being the top endorser for Jordan Brand baseball products. In 2016, Jordan Brand extended Jeter’s endorsement deal, naming him “captain” among baseball players wearing Jordan’s iconic “Jumpman” shoes and apparel.
“Derek is one of the hardest workers I have ever met,” Jordan said then, in a statement announcing the Jeter endorsement extension. “That drive and his passion for excellence have always made him a perfect fit for the brand and we are happy to be continuing our relationship with him.”
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Jordan, who bought controlling interest in the then-Charlotte Bobcats in March 2010, has previously invested in motorcycle racing. His passion for baseball is well chronicled: The first time he retired as an NBA player, in 1994, Jordan played minor-league baseball for the Birmingham Barons, a Double-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox.
Jordan was so enamored of his baseball experience that he bought a tour bus, reportedly at a cost of about $350,000, during the summer of 1994 so the Barons could travel more comfortably.
Jordan was a Hall of Fame player who bought controlling interest in the expansion Bobcats from founding owner Bob Johnson. The team’s name was later changed to Hornets after the New Orleans franchise that started in Charlotte switched to Pelicans.
It is not uncommon for principal owners of NBA teams to invest in teams in other sports: Chicago’s Jerry Reinsdorf has controlling interest in both the NBA Bulls and Major League Baseball White Sox. Ted Leonsis owns both the NBA Washington Wizards and NHL Washington Capitals.
The Marlins are hosting Tuesday night’s All-Star Game. MLB had hoped to have a sale agreed to in time to announce it during All-Star festivities in Miami, but that appears unlikely.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129: @rick_bonnell