The year 2020 has certainly been one for the record books, with all sorts of unexpected things happening right before our eyes. Well, we can chalk another one up on the board, as the sports betting giant DraftKings is about to land NBA great Michael Jordan as part of the company.
In the deal, Jordan receives a special adviser role and equity with the company, but exact dollar figures were not released. It’s no coincidence that the partnership comes on the heels of DraftKings entering the market in Illinois for the first time in the company’s history.
“Michael Jordan is among the most important figures in sports and culture, who forever redefined the modern athlete and entrepreneur,” Jason Robins, CEO and co-founder of DraftKings said in the release. “The strategic counsel and business acumen Michael brings to our board is invaluable, and I am excited to have him join our team.”
Michael Jordan NBA History
Jordan is a six-time NBA champ and member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, so his knowledge and expertise will certainly be a welcome addition.
Currently, Jordan is the chairman of Hornets Sports and Entertainment, the ownership group of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets. In this role, he will offer guidance and strategic advice to the DraftKings board of directors, as per the Wednesday morning news release on the story. Additionally, Jordan will give input to the board of directors on company strategy, product development, diversity, equity, and various marketing efforts.
“NBA team investors, including governors, are permitted to have involvement with sports betting and fantasy sports businesses, subject to safeguards required under league rules to prevent actual or perceived conflicts of interest,” an NBA spokesman said Wednesday.
Betting in Sports
In recent years, sports betting has been sort of the black sheep in sports – both collegiate and professional. Now that over 20 states in the US have legalized sports betting, there aren’t many ways to get around it. In fact, it’s almost everywhere you turn – on the TV, print, and audio.
“Our position is not a moral crusade against gambling,” Stern said a few years ago. “It’s just about betting on basketball.”
The criticism of Jordan’s deal is just one of many that seems to be flooding around news timelines. Jordan isn’t the first former NBA player or even pro athlete to sign a deal to join a sports betting company.
“I never bet on games, I only bet on myself, and that was golf,” Jordan said in the Last Dance documentary that aired earlier this year on ESPN. “Do I like to play blackjack? Yeah, I like playing blackjack. There’s no laws with that. The league did call me and asked questions about it. And I told them exactly what was happening.”
Upon its arrival into the United States marketplace, PointsBet inked deals with former NBA great Allen Iverson and NFL great Darrelle Revis. Jordan’s deal with a sports betting company is not the first and certainly won’t be the last.
With Jordan’s partnership at DraftKings, the state of Illinois could not be any more excited to have him on board. Of course, many of the other states will love that Jordan is a part of the brand, but Illinois is where he rested his hat for many years. Teams like Jordan’s pro alma matter, the Chicago Bulls, will benefit from these partnerships, as will the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Bears, and Chicago Blackhawks.
Chicago has always been thought of as one of the marquee cities in America. Having legalized sports betting and a partnership with Jordan, DraftKings has put itself in a fantastic position.