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STAKE IN HORNETS BACK ON BLOCK AS JORDAN ENDS TALKS W/SHINN
Published May 10, 1999
After Michael Jordan pulled out of negotiations with Hornets Owner George Shinn over an ownership stake in the team, Shinn issued a statement saying that he has "received numerous inquiries from others who are interested in the possibility of a partnership in the Hornets." Shinn added that he plans to "review those opportunities and proceed accordingly" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/8). On Friday, Jordan told the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER why talks broke down with Shinn. Jordan: "We could have agreed to a 50-50 split. But ultimately my decisions had to be it. ... It wasn't about money. I offered to buy him out. It was about control and we never were able to get that resolved." Jordan said that "there was a possibility" that talks could resume, but "only if the control issue were resolved, and if talks resumed quickly." Jordan: "I'd be open if [Shinn] called tomorrow morning and said, `Hey, I've made a terrible mistake, let's talk.' It's up to George. I could not accept a situation where I could not (have a final say)." Afterward, a source said, "Shinn doesn't deserve to take the fall on this one. He wanted Michael involved. But no one in their right mind would sell 50 percent of a business and have no decisions." Sources said that "at least two other groups" are interested in buying part of the team (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/8). COULD TALKS RESURFACE? In Chicago, John Jackson cited NBA sources as saying "there is a chance" that Shinn might "reconsider" Jordan's offer to buy 100% of the team "if the outside pressures on him continue and intensify" (SUN-TIMES, 5/9). Also in Chicago, Lacy Banks writes that Jordan has the leverage: "Let's face it: Shinn and the league need Jordan more than he needs them" (SUN-TIMES, 5/10). REAX: In Charlotte, Ron Green wrote that you can't blame Shinn for the failed deal because Jordan's "demands were so outrageous, it's difficult to believe he was serious about buying half of the team." Green called Shinn's refusal to meet Jordan's demands "noble" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/9). Also in Charlotte, Tom Sorensen wrote that Shinn chose power over a Jordan deal because the Hornets are his "identity." Sorensen: "The Hornets are much more than a business to Shinn. They are his connection to the big time, his only connection" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/8). THE WIZARDS KING? David Falk said that he "doesn't know" if his client has thought about buying the Wizards since he "has spent all of his recent time trying to make a deal for the Hornets" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/8). A NEW PARADIGM? In Chicago, Bernie Lincicome writes on today's pro athletes seeking ownership interests in teams. He calls Jordan's effort to buy a stake in the Hornets "not so much a corporate takeover as celebrity extortion. ... Things have gotten so very askew that when somebody finally says no to Jordan, it is Jordan who gets all the commiseration. Poor Michael. If he wants his own NBA team, why shouldn't he have one?" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/10).