SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — DraftKings shares jumped in midday trading after announcing that basketball legend Michael Jordan would take an ownership stake in the company in exchange for becoming a special adviser to the sports betting site.
Boston-based DraftKings did not release details on the amount of Jordan’s stake in the company. Jordan is the majority owner of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets and the deal has the league’s approval.
“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 spokesperson said Wednesday.
Jordan’s interest in DraftKings is not expected to affect the Hornets’ presence on the site.
The NBA agreed to a multiyear deal about a year ago to make DraftKings an official sports betting operator. The NBA has several similar arrangements, including one with DraftKings’ longtime daily fantasy sports rival FanDuel, and struck a first-of-its-kind deal with MGM Resorts International in 2018 to be compensated for providing official data as a way for those casinos to determine outcomes of various bets.
That differs from the way Golden Nugget casinos, owned by Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta, are permitted to handle games involving his NBA club. Golden Nugget sports books in Nevada, New Jersey and Mississippi can accept NBA wagers, but cannot for games involving the Rockets.
Jordan has made no secret of his affinity for gambling, whether playing blackjack in casinos or making bets during a round of golf. As a player for the Chicago Bulls, Jordan famously went to Atlantic City in between games of the 1993 Eastern Conference finals against the New York Knicks, revealing details of the trip in “The Last Dance” docuseries released earlier this year by ESPN and Netflix. Jordan also said he never bet on NBA games.
DraftKings said Jordan would immediately “provide strategic and creative input to the board of directors on company strategy, product development, inclusion, equity and belonging, marketing activities and other key initiatives.”
After jumping about 10% at the market open, shares in DraftKings were up about 1% in midday trading.
AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds in Lake Buena Vista, Florida contributed to this story.