In his four seasons as the majority owner of the NBA team in Charlotte, Michael Jordan has endured plenty, including the worst season in NBA history, but Jordan said Monday that the competitor in him has his eyes on a seventh NBA ring.
"I'm always dreaming about that seventh ring," Jordan told ESPN. "And to get to that would be much more gratifying" than the previous six he won with the Chicago Bulls.
Jordan said being on the sidelines as the owner "isn't as much fun, but it's a lot harder."
The 51-year-old Hall of Famer found that the hardest thing to accept was that he couldn't do as much as an owner as he could on the court.
"I played this game for a long time and I always took criticism in a way that's going to make me better as a basketball player and I could affect the game per se," Jordan said. "Here, I can't do that other than talking to my other employees or coaches or players."
In March 2010, Jordan agreed to buy 80 percent of the team from Bob Johnson on a valuation of about $275 million. Jordan's stake -- as arranged in the original deal -- jumped up to 89 percent in 2013.
"That wasn't my reason for getting in," Jordan said. "The reason for getting in was because I love basketball. Bob presented an opportunity to me which I'm very thankful of and a dream of mine to own a basketball team. I understood the city of Charlotte and the state of North Carolina is basketball country. I felt like I could contribute and make a difference within this franchise from an ownership standpoint ... That was my purpose for buying."
Jordan is hoping to build on the momentum of making the playoffs last year by bringing in free agent Lance Stephenson on his team now called the Hornets.
Jordan originally resisted reverting back to the name that gave the Queen City such joy in the 1990s.
"I felt like I didn't want live in the past, I wanted to move forward," Jordan said. "That was my initial thinking and my staff came to me and said, 'Let's do a survey and see what the people want.' Once the opportunity came where we could get the name Hornets and when it came back overwhelmingly that they wanted the name back, this is when my decision was made."
The nearly two-year transition to the name, which cost Jordan nearly $5 million and included taking the Hornets' history back from New Orleans, has already paid off big. With the help of Nike and the Jordan brand, Jordan and his team updated the logo -- as required by the NBA.
The team has sold more than 10,000 season tickets this year, up from under 7,000 in Jordan's first year as owner and added 30 new corporate partners. Merchandise sales are up 77 percent and prospects are good for the team to be in the top 10 in NBA team sales this season.
"That tells you how strong the Hornets were ingrained in this area," Jordan said. "People tend to forget the Hornets led the league in attendance for seven years. These colors transcended outside of North Carolina it was all over the place. We didn't want to lose that fact. We didn't want to lose that identity."