Fred Whitfield, a close friend of Michael Jordan who serves as president and vice chairperson of the Charlotte Hornets, will join the UNC Shuford Program in Entrepreneurship on Thursday night for a talk about sports, culture and entrepreneurship.
Whitfield is the only African-American chief operations officer in the NBA, and has known Jordan for over 35 years. Before joining Hornets Sport and Entertainment, Whitfield was the director of business and legal affairs for the Jordan Brand, served at the director of player development for Nike, Inc. and established and maintained a law practice in Greensboro.
Bernard Bell, the executive director of the Shuford Program, is a lifelong entrepreneur and childhood friend of Whitfield’s. He said he wanted to bring Whitfield in partly because of his experience negotiating for last week’s NBA All-Star Weekend to remain in Charlotte after the repeal of North Carolina’s House Bill 2 — legislation that required residents to use the bathrooms in public facilities that matched the gender on their birth certificate.
“It was the perfect opportunity for him to speak not only as an entrepreneur, but someone who brings together entrepreneurship and social justice issues,” Bell said. “It’s a great opportunity to have dialogue between sports, culture and entrepreneurship and how they can have a positive impact on the common good.”
Jemal Abdulhadi, a senior international development major with a double minor in entrepreneurship and business, said he was excited to listen to Whitfield because All Star Weekend "was a huge thing for the state and the city.”