• The Rockets sweepstakes has brought out stars, with names like Beyonce interested in buying the team. This got us thinking: Who are the top prospective owners?
By Rohan Nadkarni
August 02, 2017

The Houston Rockets surprised everyone—even most people in their own building—when they announced earlier this summer that owner Leslie Alexander would be selling the team. Alexander has been pretty good as an owner, insofar as you never really hear his name much and the team seems willing to spend money on good players. (The bar for owners is really low.)

With the news that Alexander is cashing out, some prominent names have popped up in sales talks, with local heroes such as Hakeem Olajuwon and Beyoncé reportedly interested in minority stakes. How should the Rockets go about selling their team with so many people interested? All they have to do is consult The Crossover’s first (and last ever) prospective owner rankings.

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28,638. Unnamed oil tycoon

We have too many oil tycoons in sports, and they are always on the borderline of saying or doing something extremely uncomfortable that gets swept under the rug because of their old-school charm or some bull----. When I think of oil tycoons, I think of the Frank Langella’s character from the movie Eddie. Was he even an oil tycoon or just a cowboy? All I know is he wanted to move the Knicks and he lied to Eddie, which was messed up. Although I fully support an NBA team hiring their most diehard fan as head coach, I can’t get behind more oil money in sports.

28,637. Silicon Valley/Tech guy

The Silicon Valley folk have slowly started to make their way into the NBA, and it’s been a little bit of a mixed bag. The Warriors have become a juggernaut under Joe Lacob, though he was largely helped by a confluence of insane factors that were completely out of his control. And instead of constantly heaping praise on his star player or counting his blessings, Lacob has simply bragged to the media about how brilliant he is and how he had sexual relations with the Larry O’Brien trophy. Vivek Ranadive has been a disaster in Sacramento, so much so that I’m worried another Indian dude will never get to own an NBA team. These guys are weird and actually make the league more fun, but there’s a coldness to the Valley types and they always want to run their teams like a weird social experiment. The NBA doesn’t need any more of ‘em.

(For time’s sake, let’s skip over the next 28,630 names or so)

6. Kim Kardashian-West and Kanye West

You know as soon as the Wests heard Beyoncé was thinking of getting in on the NBA they thought of doing the same. Kim and Kanye would make pretty good owners! Kim could easily raise the money needed by creating another app or something. Kanye would have all of his players balling in oversized parkas and combat boots with a Boost sole. And Keeping Up With the Kardashians will be appointment television when Kim is buying a team considered to be one of the rivals for Tristan Thompson’s Cavaliers. This is a win for everyone involved.

5. Chipotle

Can Chipotle founder Steve Ellis buy an NBA team under the company name? I’m not quite sure. But I don’t understand how a company like Chipotle hasn’t bought an NBA team yet. Where is all my money for those half-scoops of guacamole going anyway? That better be a basketball fund. E. coli issues aside, Chipotle could revolutionize the NBA ownership game. Whichever team it buys would change their name to the Burritos. Concession stands would would be rid of undercooked french fries. And now with queso potentially in the mix, your one smarmy friend can’t force you to go to the Moe’s-owned NBA team’s game instead.

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2. Beyoncé

Beyoncé would immediately become the most important NBA owner if she bought a team. Her universal appeal could bring so many more fans into the sport. If her team is struggling, all she needs to do is perform for 12 minutes at halftime to pack the stadium. And when was the last time you heard of a strong female owner in basketball? The sport could desperately use some diversity there. We know Beyoncé is a basketball fan, but don’t sleep on her business acumen, either. She’s built an empire, and she won’t be intimidated in any negotiation. Also, I would bet my right leg that if Beyoncé were to buy an NBA team, that city would immediately become the destination for the league’s next superteam.

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1. LeBron James

That’s right, the best possible owner for an NBA team currently plays in the NBA. LeBron may never catch Jordan on the court, but it wouldn’t be difficult to outpace him as an owner. I love the idea of James owning a team sooner rather than later, because not only would he better than all the players on his team, but he would also passive aggressively tweet about it all the time, probably even during games. LeBron leaving the ringz culture forever and owning a team while his contemporaries struggle to match his achievements would be the ultimate power play. And you know James would do something extremely trolly like trading for Kyrie and playing him only 12 minutes a night. LeBron, if you ever get tired of carrying teams to the Finals every year and you still want to make an impact on the game, it may be wise to make a play for the owner’s suite sooner rather than later.

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