By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Michael Jordan became the first former NBA player to be the majority owner of a team when he was unanimously approved to take over the Charlotte Bobcats by the league on Wednesday.

"We are pleased that Michael Jordan's purchase of majority ownership of the Bobcats was approved by the NBA's Board of Governors and closed in such a smooth and expeditious fashion," NBA Commissioner David Stern said in a statement.

"We look forward to the continued growth of the Bobcats, on and off the court, under his leadership."

Jordan organized a group of investors to pull off the deal under MJ Basketball Holdings.

Known as "Air Jordan" in his playing days, he led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships and was five-times named the league's Most Valuable Player.

"Purchasing the Bobcats is the culmination of my post-playing career goal of becoming the majority owner of an NBA franchise," Jordan said in a statement on the team's website (

"I am especially pleased to have the opportunity to build a winning team in my home state of North Carolina," he added. "I plan to make this franchise an organization that Charlotte can be proud of, and I am committed to doing all that I can to achieve this goal."


"The best decision I made since acquiring the Bobcats was to convince my friend Michael to become an investor in the Bobcats and to appoint him as managing member of basketball operations," Johnson said in a statement.

"As the new majority owner of the Bobcats, his dedication will be stronger now more than ever. Today's announcement is great news for the Bobcats, the city of Charlotte, the fans and the NBA."

Terms of the Jordan deal were not disclosed.

The club, which last year posted a 35-47 record and this season stands sixth in the Eastern Conference at 34-32, was purchased by Johnson for a reported $300 million.

The Charlotte Observer newspaper said it took at least $250 million for Jordan's group to buy the team, which has been losing money in recent years.

Under NBA rules, it takes 15 percent of a purchase price to claim controlling interest, putting Jordan's stake at an estimated minimum of $37.5 million.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)