STAKE IN HORNETS BACK ON BLOCK AS JORDAN ENDS TALKS W/SHINN
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).