Michael Jordan joins DraftKings as special adviser

  • Joined ESPN in 2014
  • Journalist covering gambling industry since 2008

NBA legend Michael Jordan is taking an equity stake in DraftKings in exchange for becoming a special adviser to the sports betting and fantasy sports company.

Jordan is the chairman of Hornets Sports and Entertainment, the ownership group of the Charlotte Hornets. He will provide guidance and strategic advice to DraftKings’ board of directors, according to a Wednesday morning news release.

“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.”

The size of Jordan’s equity interest in DraftKings was not revealed.

A six-time NBA champion and member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Jordan will provide DraftKings with input to the board of directors on company strategy, product development, diversity, equity and belonging and marketing activities, among other key initiatives, according to the release.

In 2015, Jordan, along with fellow NBA owners Ted Leonsis of the Washington Wizards and Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks, invested in Sportradar, an international company that provides data to bookmakers around the world.

“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 told ESPN in an email.

DraftKings went public in April and was trading at 36.93 at the close of the Nasdaq on Wednesday.

The Walt Disney Company, parent company of ESPN, also has equity in DraftKings.

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