By: Jack Tien-Dana
Updated May 12, 2022
Over the last few years, no asset in the world is as valued and highly coveted as an NBA franchise. Accordingly, NBA ownership is a fiercely exclusive club that can only hold 30 members at once and rarely opens its doors to new members. The owner of an NBA team is one of the most important aspects of a team’s success, yet they largely operate away from the the limelight. Here are all 30 NBA team owners in 2022.
How Much is an NBA Team Worth?
According to Forbes, the average NBA team is worth $2.48 billion in 2022, which is a 13% increase just from last year. Amongst the value of the franchises, though, there’s plenty of variation between the teams and the net worth of the 30 NBA team owners, with the likes of the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors are worth upwards of $5 billion while the Grizzlies are the least-valuable team at $1.5 billion.
While all 30 teams evenly split the league’s national TV deal (which could be worth upwards of $8 billion annually by 2025) and none of the NBA team owners teams are exactly hurting for money, the gradations of value between the teams can be explained by each franchise’s respective location and peripheral portfolio. The Knicks, Lakers and Golden State Warriors far outpace the rest of the league (all three are worth about $2 billion more than the fourth-place Chicago Bulls) because they own their arenas and have inked lucrative local TV deals; the Knicks own MSG Networks while the Lakers possess a 50% stake in Spectrum SportsNet (Los Angeles).
1. Wyc Grousbeck, Boston Celtics
Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images
An entrepreneur and venture capitalist Grousbeck is the majority owner of the Boston Celtics. After seven years as a partner at venture capital firm Highland Capital Partners, Grousbeck purchased the Celtics in 2002 as the frontman of the Boston Basketball Partners, LLC. Since buying the team for $360 million twenty years ago, Grousbeck has presided over 17 playoff appearances, highlighted by a championship in 2008.
2. Joseph Tsai, Brooklyn Nets
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images
After acquiring a 49% stake in the Brooklyn Nets in 2017, Tsai became the franchise’s sole owner in 2019 when he bought out the rest of former owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s stake in the team. Beyond buying the team for $2.3 billion, Tsai also purchased the Barclays Center in a separate $1 billion deal. While these deals are undeniably costly, Tsai isn’t exactly strapped for cash: the Alibaba co-founder has a net worth of $8.4 billion.
3. James Dolan, New York Knicks
Photo by Rich Graessle/Getty Images
Since Dolan’s dad bought the Knicks and made his precious little boy the chairman of the New York Knicks (as well as of the New York Rangers and Madison Square Garden), James Dolan has become one of the most hated people in New York City. Over the course of Dolan's 25 year reign, the Knicks have been historically inept, winning only a single playoff series since the turn of the century. Although Dolan has moved on from his meddling, scandal-ridden management style of the mid-2000s, he still hasn’t curried more favor from the fanbase. Dolan is also the lead singer of his own band, JD and the Straight Shots, in case that's your kind of thing.
Josh Harris, Philadelphia 76ers
Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images
The 76ers are simply one asset in the growing sports portfolio of majority owner Josh Harris. Outside of owning the Sixers, the former Apollo Global Management co-founder is also the principal owner of the New Jersey Devils in the NHL and a general partner of Crystal Palace in the English Premier League. In the 11 years since Harris bought the team for $280 million in 2011, the Sixers have rebounded from their protracted rebuild to become one of the NBA’s best teams.
Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment, Toronto Raptors
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The Raptors are the only team in the NBA without a single identifiable majority owner. Instead, they’re owned by Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment, a joint venture between BCE Inc. and Rogers Communications, Canada’s two biggest media companies. Originally founded as a holding company in charge of the Toronto Maple Leafs, MLSE bought the Raptors in 1998 and have since branched out into the MLS and CFL as well. Drake is a minority owner.
Jerry Reinsdorf, Chicago Bulls
Made infamous by his portrayal in the docuseries “The Last Dance,” Reinsdorf is one of oldest owner in the NBA at 86 years old. After making his fortune in real estate in the 1960s and 1970s, Reinsdorf bought the Chicago White Sox in 1981 and then the Chicago Bulls in 1985. At the time, the Bulls were a struggling franchise that played in mostly-empty arenas, but the team enjoyed unprecedented success soon after Reinsdorf took control. Led by Michael Jordan, the Bulls sold out every game from 1987 to 1999 and won six championships in the 90s. With the Bulls worth an estimated $3.65 billion today, Reinsdorf’s original $16 million investment in the team has grown by 22,712%.
Dan Gilbert, Cleveland Cavaliers
Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images
Although he is most known to basketball fans for his comic sans screed in the wake of Lebron James’ decision to join the Miami Heat in 2010, Gilbert is one of the richest owners in the NBA. By founding Quicken Loans in 1985, Gilbert has amassed a net worth of $51.9 billion. He purchased the Cavs for $250 million in 2005. During his tenure, the Cavs won the first title in franchise history in 2016.
Tom Gores, Detroit Pistons
Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images
Originally born in Israel, Gores moved to Michigan when he was five. After making a fortune in private equity in Los Angeles, Gores returned to Michigan in 2009 when he bought the Pistons for $325 million. While the Pistons under Gores haven’t reached their usual heights, Cade Cunningham and the rest of Detroit’s young core could soon usher in better days.
Herb Simon, Indiana Pacers
Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images
Like Jerry Reinsdorf in Chicago, Simon is another octogenarian real estate tycoon who owns a midwestern basketball team. The chairman emeritus of shopping mall developer Simon Property Group, Simon bought the Pacers for $10.5 million in 1983. In the process, he beat out a California-based consortium that wanted to relocate the Pacers to Sacramento. Today, the Pacers are worth upwards of $1.2 billion.
Wes Edens and Marc Lasry, Milwaukee Bucks
Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images
When longtime owner Herb Kohl put the team up for sale in 2015, there was rampant speculation that the team was looking to move to Las Vegas. Instead, Edens and Lasry bought the team for $550 million. As part of the deal, Edens and Lasry pledged to keep the team in Milwaukee and build a new stadium. Recently, the Bucks have embarked on one of the most successful stretches in franchise history. Last season, Giannis Antetokounmpo led the team to their first championship in over 50 years.
Tony Ressler, Atlanta Hawks
Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images
Alongside Josh Harris, Ressler is the second co-founder of Apollo Global Management to buy an NBA team. Having bought the team for $850 million in 2015, Ressler has presided over an exciting period in Atlanta Hawks history. Last year, Trae Young catalyzed the Hawks’ best postseason showing in several years, carrying them to the Eastern Conference Finals. Funnily, Ressler might not even be the most famous person in his own household despite being worth over $6 billion; his wife, Jami Gertz, is a successful actress in her own right.
Michael Jordan, Charlotte Hornets
Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images
You know who this is.
Micky Arison, Miami Heat
Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images
After inheriting the Carnival Corporation from his dad, Arison bought the Miami Heat in 1995. Previously a mediocre team, the Heat have turned into one of the NBA’s premier franchise under Arison. Over the last 27 years, they have missed the playoffs just six times; they’ve made the Finals six times also in that time frame. While the team has rostered Hall of Famers like Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal, the triumvirate of Arison, Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra has provided the stability and institutional knowledge that’s been an integral part of the team’s success.
The DeVos Family, Orlando Magic
Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images
If you’re wondering where you recognize the name DeVos, Betsy DeVos (the wife of Magic chairman Richard DeVos) was the Secretary of Education under President Donald Trump. Famously, she once suggested that teachers should be armed to protect students from grizzly bears. The Magic went 22-60 last season.
Ted Leonsis, Washington Wizards
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images
The CEO and founder of Monumental Sports and Entertainment (the holding company that owns the Wizards), Leonsis is functionally the owner of the Wizards. After longtime owner Abe Pollin died in 2009, Leonsis purchased Pollin’s shares to become the head honcho of the Wizards and Washington Capitals. Prior to owning the 'Zards, Leonsis was an early tech tycoon who was a senior executive at AOL.
Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, Denver Nuggets
Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images
Purchased for $450 million in 2000, Nuggets are piece of a larger constellation of teams that the Kroenke family owns; their other properties include the Los Angeles Rams in the NFL and Arsenal in the English Premier League. Stan Kroenke, the trophy husband of a Walmart heiress, heads Kroenke Sports & Entertainment. In this capacity, he hasn’t exactly covered himself in glory. Despite having MVP Nikola Jokic and making the playoffs, Nuggets posted the lowest local tv ratings of any team in 15 years because their games were blacked out across Colorado after the team failed to reach a deal with Comcast, the state’s largest cable provider.
Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez, Minnesota Timberwolves
(Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images)
The newest owners in the league, Lore and A-Rod sealed a deal for the Timberwolves this year. The two will gradually buy shares of the team from former owner Glen Taylor until they become the majority owners in 2023. The deal values the team at $1.5 billion. Lore is an e-commerce mogul who sold Jet to Walmart for $3.3 billion and then became the CEO of Walmart’s e-commerce division in 2016. Alex Rodriguez hit a ton of home runs and is the best infielder in baseball history.
Clay Bennett, Oklahoma City Thunder
Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images
A lifelong Oklahoman, Bennett was largely responsible for bringing NBA basketball to The Big Friendly. Bennett and his cabal of OKC businessmen bought the then-Supersonics from Starbucks founder Howard Schultz for $350 million in 2006 on the condition that Bennett made a “good-faith effort” to keep the Sonics in Seattle. Shockingly, Bennett didn’t. Just a year later, Bennett announced that the team was breaking its lease. By doing so, the team relocated to Oklahoma City for the 2008-2009 season and rebranding as the Thunder. In OKC, the Thunder have been a model for other small-market franchises. They posted a winning record for 11 straight seasons from 2010 to 2011.
Jody Allen, Portland Trail Blazers
Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images
The sister of the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, Allen was named the executor and trustee of her brother's estate. In 2018, she assumed ownership of the Trail Blazers as well as the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL and the Portland Timbers in the MLS. The Trail Blazers have been in the Allen family since 1988 when Paul Allen purchased the team for $70 million. With the Trail Blazers now worth upwards of $2 billion, it's speculated that Jody Allen could look to sell the team.
Ryan Smith, Utah Jazz
Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images
A software tycoon, Smith is one of the richest Mormons in the world. Appropriately, he owns the team based in Salt Lake City. Part of the new wave of younger, more socially conscious owners that have bought into the NBA over the last few years, Smith agreed to buy the Jazz for $1.6 billion in October 2020. While Smith is the majority owner, he brought on Dwyane Wade as a minority owner.
Joe Lacob, Golden State Warriors
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
In 2014, Joe Lacob bought the scuffling Warriors for $450 million. Under the stewardship of venture capital titan, the Warriors grew into a legitimate dynasty. They made the Finals for five straight years and securd three titles in 2015, 2017 and 2018. In addition, Lacob spearheaded a slight relocation within the Bay Area. Last season, the Warriors left their old Oakland digs, Oracle Arena, to move to the Chase Center in San Francisco.
Steve Ballmer, Los Angeles Clippers
Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images
Although the Clippers are a perennially moribund franchise, Ballmer—and crucially, Ballmer’s deep pockets—are endeavoring to change that. Following the Donald Sterling scandal in 2014, Ballmer scooped up the Clippers for a then-record $2 billion. With the world’s 10th-richest man at the helm, the Clippers built a super team around Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in the summer of 2019. They are also set to unveil their own new arena in 2024.
Jeanie Buss, Los Angeles Lakers
Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
The Lakers have been in the Buss family since Jerry Buss purchased the team for $67.5 million in 1979; there’s a whole TV show about this that you can read about here. While Jerry Buss was known as a pioneering figure who helped grow the NBA to the behemoth it is today, his death in 2013 threw the franchise into disarray as his six kids squabbled over the team. In 2017, though, Jeanie Buss ousted her brothers and took over as the Lakers’ primary owner. Since then, she has lured Lebron James to LA and won the 2020 NBA championship.
Robert Sarver, Phoenix Suns
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Vivek Ranadive, Sacramento Kings
Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images
The founder and CEO of TIBCO Software, Ranadive is the first and only Indian owner in the NBA. His legacy in Sacramento is a complicated one. On one hand, he kept the team in Sacramento when he bought the team for $348 million from the Maloofs. On the other, the team has continued their 16 year playoff drought under his watch.
Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks
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After selling Broadcast.com for $5.7 billion in the early 2000s, Cuban has shifted into an amorphous entrepreneurial, professional rich person role. As such, he purchased the Mavericks for $285 million in 2003 and has been one of the most involved, forward-facing owners in the league ever since.
Tilman Fertita, Houston Rockets
Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images
The brain-genius behind culinary meccas such as Bubba Gump Shrimp Company Rain Forest Cafe, Fertita bought the Rockets for a record $2.2 billion in 2017. During the early years of the Fertita era, the Rockets were a serious contender and the only team who troubled the Warriors dynasty in the slightest. Over the last few years, though, Fertita has plunged the franchise into a rebuild as he sought to cut costs and avoid the luxury tax.
Robert Pera, Memphis Grizzlies
Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images
Pera isn’t just the NBA’s youngest owner, he’s one of the richest; the 44 year-old techie is worth approximately $10 billion, trailing only Ballmer and Gilbert. At the tender age of 36, Pera bought the Grizzlies in 2012 for $350 million.
Gayle Benson, New Orleans Pelicans
Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images
The widow of former owner Tom Benson, Gayle Benson became the principal owner of the Pelicans and the New Orleans Saints after her husband’s death in 2018. She is the first woman to be the majority shareholder of both an NBA and NFL team.
Peter J. Holt, San Antonio Spurs
Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images
In 1993, billionaire businessman Peter Holt bought the Spurs for $76 million. Upon his retirement in 2013, he passed the team down his son Peter J. Holt who has run the team for the last nine years.
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