Here's a company clawing its way to the top in the basketball world. Bobcats Basketball Holdings, which does business as Bobcats Sports & Entertainment, owns and operates the Charlotte Bobcats professional basketball team. The newest member of the National Basketball Association, the franchise was awarded in 2004 to Robert Johnson, founder of cable broadcaster BET, and replaced the Hornets team that had left Charlotte, North Carolina, for New Orleans in 2002. The Bobcats play host at the Time Warner Cable Arena. NBA legend Michael Jordan, who played for the Chicago Bulls, purchased control of the team from Johnson in 2010.
Jordan's investment group acquired its majority stake for $275 million, beating an offer from former Houston Rockets president George Postolos. Johnson announced interest in selling his majority stake (about 70%) in the Bobcats following the 2008-09 season, citing team losses of about $35 million over the course of two years. Jordan, the first former player to become a team owner in the NBA, was already a minority partner with Johnson and served as head of basketball operations.
The team's new ownership still faces an uphill battle to transform Charlotte into a regular contender for the playoffs. Under head coach Larry Brown, the Bobcats landed a berth in the postseason following the 2009-10 campaign, the team's first ever playoff appearance. Brown, hired in 2008 to replace Sam Vincent, previously coached for the New York Knicks and led the Detroit Pistons to an NBA title in 2004. However, following a 9-19 start to the 2010-11 campaign, Larry Brown stepped down. Veteran NBA coach Paul Silas took over as head coach after Brown's departure.
Charlotte originally joined the NBA family when the Hornets were formed in 1988. However, the franchise decided to relocate to the Gulf Coast after unpopular owners George Shinn and Ray Wooldridge failed to get the city to fund a new arena. Johnson, however, was successful in courting a deal with the city.