LeBron James has already set his sights on his latest endeavor: owning an NBA team. He even chose where he wanted them to play – in Las Vegas.
“I want to own a team. Yeah, I want to buy a team. Sure,” James said in a preview of “The Shop” on Thursday. “…I want the team in Vegas.”
This is not a new idea for James. He’s been talking about owning the NBA franchise since 2016 when he told Jesse Williams and Stefan Marulachakis on the “Open Run” podcast that he had always dreamed of leading a team off the field.
“I feel like my mind is unique in relation to the game of basketball and would like to continue to provide my knowledge of the game,” James said in 2016. On the top. My dream is to actually own a team and I don’t need the full hands-on training. If I am lucky enough to have a team, I will hire the best General Manager and Chief I can.
“But I have a feeling I have a good eye not only for talent, because we all see so much talent, but the things that make talent, the chemistry, what kind of guy a guy is, his work ethic, his passion, the basketball smart side of things, because talent goes way beyond that “.
LeBron James’ Road to Royalty
There are several ways James could have an NBA team.
The simplest way is for James to buy a team outright or be the majority shareholder in an ownership group. This is much more difficult than the sounds. While James became a billionaire recently, he needed a lot of money to make the move.
ESPN’s Brian Windhurst reported in January 2021 that the NBA wanted $2.5 billion for an expansion team — on par with some of its biggest recent sales. Joseph Tsai Bought Brooklyn Nets in 2019 for $2.35 Billion and Tilman Fertitta Buyer Houston Rockets in 2017 for $2.2 billion.
The easiest – albeit slower – way for James to own a team is to start out as a minority shareholder and buy more shares, like Michael Jordan did with the Charlotte Hornets. Jordan, who had already been a minority owner of the team since 2006, bought the Hornets from majority owner, Robert L. Johnson, in 2010.
Other retired athletes have gone down the path of minority shareholders as well in the NBA. Former NBA forward Grant Hill is the minority owner of the Atlanta Hawks after joining the group that bought the team for $850 million in 2015. James’ friend and former Heat teammate Dwayne Wade bought a minority stake in the Utah Jazz in 2021 and former Yankees player would be Alex Rodriguez is the majority co-owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves by 2023 after agreeing to slowly buy the team with Marc Lore in 2021. Shaquille O’Neal was even a minority shareholder in the Sacramento Kings from 2013-2022.
When can James own a team?
The NBA’s collective bargaining agreement prohibits active players from owning any stake in the franchise, so James can never buy a team while he’s still playing in the league. However, the current CBA expires in 2024, leaving open the possibility of this rule being amended. This is highly unlikely, and James may retire before any team ownership rule changes.
However, players can own stakes in companies that own NBA teams. And this is how James can be involved in buying a team even if he is still an active player.
James owns a stake in Fenway Sports Group, which in turn owns several sports teams such as the Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Penguins and Liverpool Football Club. Reportedly, this group is also a contender for the purchase of one of the expansion teams Bill Simmons in RangerThis is due, in part, to his relationship with James.
“that they [Fenway Sports Group] Been circling around the different NBA teams for a while. I think they looked at Minnesota. “And I think they’re the main contenders for Vegas,” Simmons said in February. “If I had to bet on LeBron’s script, he’d have a role in everything that happens with that — he’s the guy that matters on this Vegas team.”
Meanwhile, the league has denied any plans to expand the league beyond the 2024 season. NBA commissioner Adam Silver said talk of expanding soon was “incorrect” in his media address ahead of the finals.
“As I said before, at some point this league is going to expand steadily, but not right now we’re discussing it,” Silver said.
Regardless, James is now on the record with his desire to not only own an NBA team, but to own the team that expands or relocates to Las Vegas.