Los Angeles Lakers All-Star LeBron James has been vocal about his hopes to own an NBA franchise, following in the footsteps of other league legends who have transitioned into a management role after retiring.
Michael Jordan is the most prominent NBA icon to own a franchise, serving as the Charlotte Hornets chairman after taking majority control of the team in 2010. Meanwhile, David Robinson and Grant Hill own stakes in the San Antonio Spurs and Atlanta Hawks, respectively.
Earlier this month, James made it very clear he wants to join the exclusive club of former players-turned-owners, pleading with NBA commissioner Adam Silver to let him bring a team to Las Vegas. “I know Adam [Silver] is in Abu Dhabi right now, I believe, with the [Milwaukee] Bucks and Atlanta [Hawks],” the Lakers All-Star said after the preseason loss to the Phoenix Suns.
“But he probably sees every single interview and transcript that comes through from NBA players, so I want the team here, Adam. Thank you.”
In an interview with ESPN’s Malika Andrews on NBA Today, Silver responded to James’ plea after joking he indeed quickly learned about the fact that the 37-year-old forward had called him out:
“In all seriousness, I think it’s very healthy for the league when you have sort of this lifecycle of players then moving into management, potentially moving into ownership. Obviously, Michael Jordan is the owner of Charlotte. David Robinson [in] San Antonio. Grant Hill in Atlanta. Shaq owned a piece of Sacramento for a while. So, I think it’s great for the ecosystem. I’m thrilled that LeBron aspires to be an NBA team owner one day, I’d say Las Vegas specifically, you know, will make a great location for a franchise one day. We have a WNBA team, there are the Aces that obviously just won the championship. It’s not on the front burner right now for the league. I think we’ve been very public about the fact we want to get through collective bargaining. We want to see where our new media deals come out, but then we’ll turn back to expansion at some point.”
Las Vegas and Seattle are the two most likely host cities for a new NBA franchise once the league decides to move ahead with its expansion.
James already owns stakes in sports franchises around the world, serving as a minority owner of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool F.C. through his partnership with Fenway Sports Group.
Not long ago, James joined the trend of athletes and celebrities investing in pickleball, purchasing a Major League Pickleball team as part of a consortium that included former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate Kevin Love and Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green.
James recalls manifesting his own building on Nike campus
In addition to James’ countless business ventures, the four-time NBA champion also has his own building on Nike’s campus called the “LeBron James Innovation Center.”
In a recent episode of “The Shop,” the Lakers forward discussed how his dream of owning a building at Nike’s headquarters in Oregon first came about.
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