New Charlotte Hornets owners envision ‘dramatically different’ arena, winning team

CHARLOTTE — Last week, the Charlotte Hornets started a new era when Michael Jordan completed his sale of controlling interest in the NBA franchise. Jordan will stay on as a minority partner, but financiers Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall are now the lead owners, known as governors in the NBA.

Plotkin and Schnall preside over a 20-person investor group that includes local and regional investors. Among them: musicians J. Cole and Eric Church. Plotkin lives in South Florida, while Schnall makes his home in New York; both have been in Charlotte frequently in recent months while negotiating the sale with Jordan and conducting due diligence on the Hornets.

Both the co-owners already know the NBA: Schnall bought a minority share of the Atlanta Hawks in 2015 (league rules require him to sell that stake to buy into another club), while Plotkin became an investor in the Hornets in 2019. Their purchase values the Hornets at $3 billion; Jordan paid $275 million ($384 million adjusted for inflation) for the team then known as the Charlotte Bobcats when he bought the franchise in 2010.

On Aug. 3, hours after the Hornets disclosed the sale had been completed, Plotkin and Schnall made their first public appearance at Spectrum Center, offering their thoughts on becoming owners and then fielding questions from the media while civic and business leaders as well as coaches and players looked on.

The co-owners vowed to build a winning team — something Jordan could not do during his 13 seasons at the helm — while continuing Jordan’s off-court success building a consistently profitable organization with strong community ties.

Afterward, CBJ was among several outlets that participated in short exclusive interviews with Plotkin and Schnall. Read those interviews here.

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