Who Owns the NBA? Unveiling Team Owners and Purchase Prices

The NBA is a very popular and powerful league. People love to watch its exciting games, famous players, and influence on culture. Many fans wonder: “Who owns the NBA?” Some people think the NBA has one owner or the Commissioner owns it. But that is not true. The NBA works in a special way where each team owner also owns part of the league.

Ownership Structure of the NBA

The NBA is different from other sports leagues because of how it is owned. Instead of having one person or group who owns most of the league, the NBA has all the team owners share the ownership of the whole league. This shows that the NBA values teamwork and cooperation among its teams.

The NBA Consortium

The NBA’s ownership structure is a departure from the traditional model seen in many sports leagues. Instead of having a single owner or a group with a majority stake, the NBA operates as a consortium. Therefore, the league is collectively owned by the individual owners of each team, reflecting the unique approach that underpins the collaborative spirit of the NBA’s success.

The Board of Governors

The Board of Governors, consisting of team owners and the Commissioner, guides NBA decisions. Additionally, Commissioner Adam Silver oversees daily operations, emphasizing collective decision-making for diverse team perspectives.

No Single Owner

It’s crucial to emphasize that there is no single owner of the entire NBA. Each team owner holds a stake in the league, contributing to its overall ownership. This collaborative structure is designed to promote fairness, equity, and a shared responsibility among all participating franchises.

Notable NBA Team Owners

In shaping the league’s future, the NBA boasts diverse team owners, with some being famous former players, while others are affluent business figures. They have different views and skills that help their teams succeed. When we learn more about these owners and what they do, we understand better how sports, business, and personal passion come together in the NBA’s ownership story.

High-Profile Owners and Their Impact

  1. Michael Jordan (Charlotte Hornets): The legendary Michael Jordan, widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, transitioned from the court to the boardroom. As the owner of the Charlotte Hornets, Jordan brings not only his basketball acumen but also a global brand that elevates the profile of his team.
  2. Mark Cuban (Dallas Mavericks): Known for his outspokenness and entrepreneurial success, Mark Cuban has been the owner of the Dallas Mavericks since 2000. Cuban’s hands-on approach and innovative thinking have reshaped the Mavericks’ image and contributed to their success on and off the court.
  3. Steve Ballmer (Los Angeles Clippers): As the former CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer’s ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers brings a tech-savvy and business-oriented perspective to the NBA. Ballmer’s passion for the game and substantial investments have propelled the Clippers into the league’s elite.
  4. Jeanie Buss (Los Angeles Lakers): At the helm of one of the most iconic franchises in NBA history is Jeanie Buss, the controlling owner, and president of the Los Angeles Lakers. Furthermore, the Buss family has played a pivotal role in the Lakers’ legacy, with Jeanie continuing this tradition and steering the team through success.

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NBA Team Ownership Overview

Explore the NBA’s team ownership dynamics, shaped by influential figures and entities. Transitioning from seasoned stewards to new investors, delve into diverse structures, prices, and durations. Learn about impactful individuals, groups, and their enduring impact on professional basketball.


Franchise Principal Owner(s) Purchase Price (US$ Millions) Owned Since
Atlanta Hawks Tony Ressler, Grant Hill, Steven Price, Rick Schnall, Sara Blakely, Jesse Itzler 730 2015
Boston Celtics Wyc Grousbeck, Stephen Pagliuca, H. Irving Grousbeck, David Bonderman, Jim Breyer, James Pallotta, Glenn Hutchins, Jonathan Lavine 360 2002
Brooklyn Nets Joseph Tsai 2,350 2019
Charlotte Hornets Gabe Plotkin, Rick Schnall 3,000 2023
Chicago Bulls Jerry Reinsdorf 16.2 1985
Cleveland Cavaliers Dan Gilbert 375 2005
Dallas Mavericks Miriam Adelson 280 2023
Denver Nuggets Ann Walton Kroenke 202 2000
Detroit Pistons Tom Gores 325 2011
Golden State Warriors Joe Lacob (majority), Peter Guber 450 2010
Houston Rockets Tilman Fertitta 2,200 2017
Indiana Pacers Herbert Simon 10.5 1983
Los Angeles Clippers Steve Ballmer 2,000 2014
Los Angeles Lakers Jeanie Buss, Jim Buss, Johnny Buss, along with siblings in the Jerry Buss family trust 20 & 268 1979 & 1998
Memphis Grizzlies Robert J. Pera 377 2012
Miami Heat Micky Arison 68 1995
Milwaukee Bucks Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens 550 2014
Minnesota Timberwolves Glen Taylor 88.5 1995
New Orleans Pelicans Gayle Benson 338 2012
New York Knicks James Dolan 300 1997
Oklahoma City Thunder Clay Bennett 325 2006
Orlando Magic Dan DeVos 85 1991
Philadelphia 76ers Josh Harris and David Blitzer 287 2011
Phoenix Suns Mat Ishbia and Justin Ishbia 4,000 2023
Portland Trail Blazers Jody Allen 70 1988
Sacramento Kings Vivek Ranadivé, Paul E. Jacobs, Gary E. Jacobs, Hal Jacobs, Jeffrey A. Jacobs 534 2013
San Antonio Spurs Peter J. Holt 76 1993
Toronto Raptors Larry Tanenbaum, Rogers Communications, BCE 467 1998
Utah Jazz Ryan Smith, Ashley Smith, Ryan Sweeney, Mike Cannon-Brookes, the Miller Family, Dwyane Wade 1,660 2021
Washington Wizards Ted Leonsis 551 2010

Their Influence on the League and Teams

These high-profile owners not only bring financial resources but also a unique blend of leadership, vision, and star power. Their influence extends beyond their individual teams, shaping the NBA’s landscape and contributing to the league’s overall narrative.

Role of NBA Commissioners

In the NBA, there are numerous team owners crucial for the league’s future, each with diverse backgrounds. Some are renowned former players, while others are wealthy business figures. Their distinct views and skills collectively contribute to their teams’ success. When we learn more about these owners and what they do, we understand better how sports, business, and personal passion come together in the NBA’s ownership story.

League Administration and Oversight

As the face of the league, the NBA Commissioner is tasked with managing its operations and representing the collective interests of team owners. Despite a common misconception that the Commissioner owns the NBA, their role is primarily one of administration and oversight.

The Commissioner’s Limited Ownership Role

Commissioner Adam Silver guides the NBA but doesn’t own it. As a mediator, they implement decisions collectively made by the Board of Governors.

Historical Context: David Stern

To comprehend the Commissioner’s role, it’s crucial to reflect on David Stern’s three-decade tenure as NBA Commissioner. Transitioning to his transformative role in globalizing the league, David Stern’s legacy significantly shapes the position’s significance, expanding its reach and navigating challenges. His enduring impact underscores the influential position of the Commissioner in steering the NBA’s course.

Power Dynamics in NBA Ownership

Deciphering NBA ownership dynamics, revealing power players and decision-making, parallels unraveling a complex narrative in the league’s landscape. Whether it’s former players making a mark or big companies shaping the league’s path, there’s a lot going on.

Authority of the Board of Governors

The NBA’s power dynamics are intricately tied to the Board of Governors, the decision-making body comprised of team owners. This collective assembly holds substantial authority in shaping the league’s rules, regulations, and overall trajectory. Board of Governors approves major decisions—financial matters and league structure changes—ensuring collective governance and strategic direction in the NBA.

Decision-Making Processes

  1. League Rules and Regulations: The Board of Governors actively participates in establishing and amending league rules. This includes on-court regulations, financial guidelines, and policies affecting team conduct.
  2. Financial Matters: Critical financial decisions, such as revenue-sharing models, salary caps, and major investments, are subject to the consensus reached by the Board of Governors.

Collective Influence on the NBA Landscape

Team owners, through the Board of Governors, collectively influence the NBA’s landscape. Their decisions impact competitive balance, financial stability, and the overall appeal of the league. Collaborative ownership ensures diverse input shapes the league’s direction, preventing dominance by any single entity in decision-making processes.

Path to NBA Team Ownership

Entering NBA team ownership requires ambition, strategic thinking, and a love for basketball. Aspiring owners navigate challenges, blending financial savvy and business acumen with passion. In this section, we’ll dive into the different paths individuals take as they pursue the dream of owning an NBA team, sharing stories and backgrounds that lead to the stewardship of one of the world’s top basketball franchises.

Financial Requirements for Ownership

  1. Substantial Financial Resources: Becoming an NBA team owner requires a substantial financial commitment. Prospective owners need to demonstrate considerable wealth to afford the acquisition of a team.
  2. Average Cost of an NBA Team: With an estimated average cost of approximately $2.86 billion, owning an NBA team encompasses the purchase price, operational expenses, and potential investments.
  3. Financial Risks: Ownership also comes with potential financial risks due to market fluctuations, changes in league regulations, and the ongoing operational costs associated with running a professional sports franchise.

Approval Process for Ownership

  1. Rigorous Evaluation: Prospective owners undergo a rigorous evaluation process conducted by the NBA. This includes a thorough examination of their net worth, financial stability, and the capacity to manage a professional sports franchise.
  2. Character Assessment: The approval process also involves a character assessment, scrutinizing the prospective owner’s background, business ethics, and any legal or ethical concerns.
  3. Approval from Existing Owners: Approval is not solely in the hands of the league office; prospective owners must garner approval from existing team owners, emphasizing the collaborative nature of ownership in the NBA.

Notable Ownership Changes

Recent ownership changes in the NBA underscore the dynamic nature of team ownership. Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez revitalized the Minnesota Timberwolves, while Ryan Smith injected new perspectives, resources, and strategies into the Utah Jazz.

NBA Ownership and Players

In the evolving relationship between NBA ownership and players, a significant change has unfolded in recent years. Consequently, players now play a more active role in decisions about their careers, team dynamics, and societal issues—an era of player empowerment.

Complex Relationship Dynamics

  1. Evolution of Player Empowerment: In recent years, NBA players have gained increased influence and empowerment. The era of player empowerment sees athletes actively participating in decisions related to their careers, team dynamics, and even social causes.
  2. Collective Bargaining Agreements: The relationship between team owners and players is intricately connected through collective bargaining agreements (CBAs). Negotiations between player unions and team owners shape the financial structure of the league, including salary caps and revenue-sharing models.

Alignment on Social Causes

  1. Support for Social Justice Initiatives: NBA team owners have actively supported players in championing social justice causes. The shared values between owners and players foster collaborative efforts—financial contributions, initiatives addressing social inequalities, and using the league’s platform for advocacy.
  2. Impact on Team Dynamics: The alignment of values between team owners and players contributes to a positive team culture. Players feel supported not only as athletes but also as advocates for social change, fostering a sense of unity within the organization.


The National Basketball Association (NBA) operates on a unique ownership model characterized by collaboration rather than individual ownership. The league is a consortium collectively owned by individual team owners, with the Board of Governors playing a central role in decision-making. Notable figures like Michael Jordan, Mark Cuban, and Steve Ballmer contribute more than financial resources, influencing the league’s narrative and success.

Navigating the path to NBA ownership demands substantial financial commitment and approval from existing owners. Recent ownership changes, such as those with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Utah Jazz, showcase how new perspectives redefine a team’s future. The relationship between owners and players has evolved, with players gaining influence and both parties aligning on social ca. In essence, the NBA’s success is a result of the collaborative effort of team owners, emphasizing the collective responsibility that drives the league’s continued global impact.

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