Michael Jordan's love story with gambling didn't start today. The former NBA star is among celebrity personalities who love gambling, losing millions in the process. But MJ's gambling misfortunes are slightly different this time because he didn't lose at a casino or lottery operator.
The legend's latest setback involves the Charlotte Hornets, where he is the major shareholder. Michael Jordan's team may have lost an enormous $500 million in the NBA Draft Lottery after their unsuccessful bid to acquire the services of Victor Wembanyama.
Ahead of the lottery, Wembanyama was the center of attention in the NBA, and the 19-year-old lived up to expectations as the number 1 pick on May 16, 2023. Jordan has endured some struggles at the helm of the Hornets, which would have changed after signing the highly sought-after athlete.
As the Charlotte franchise missed out, the San Antonio Spurs got the first pick, and they will likely select the 19-year-old French starlet. Wembanyama is the most hyped basketball player since LeBron James.
The player's recent success with Metropolitans 92 in France has attracted worldwide attention. Following the Draft Lottery win, Spurs can now rebuild their team around the youngster for the next four years. After the lottery win, Peter Holt had a three-word response to ESPN: “I might faint!”.
Although the second choice did come through for the Hornets, Jordan and his team are undoubtedly disappointed about missing out on the talent and money. ESPN has reported that the value of Jordan's team might have increased by $500 million if they landed the 19-year-old talent. This valuation is unsurprising for a player expected to have a successful career in the United States.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN spoke highly of the Frenchman, stating:
“Victor Wembanyama is the singular, greatest prospect in NBA draft history. He is so advanced skill-wise that nobody has ever seen anyone like him.”
With MJ, arguably the best in the NBA's history, planning to sell the Hornets, landing Wembanyama would have presented a windfall for him. If he were to offload the team with Wembanyama included, MJ would pocket $278 million from his ownership stake.
Meanwhile, the 19-year-old prodigy was happy to start his NBA career, noting:
"I can't really describe my heart's beating. I've got everyone I love, everyone I know around me. It's a really special moment I'm going to remember for the rest of my life." [I'm] A team player, I'm going to do everything to win as many games as I can and I'm trying to win a ring ASAP, so be ready. I'm going to try to bring my talents here. I love Texas, I've been there before, I'm really happy and I really can't wait to meet the fans and, hopefully, the team I'm going to join."