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Volume 21 No. 42
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Baseline to boardroom: More ex-players likely to be owners

LeBron James’ profile off the court grows each year. Will he lead from the owner’s box instead of on the court by 2028?
Photo: getty images

The 2028 NBA ownership group may look more like a retired NBA roster as players continue to hone their business acumen and become interested in moving from the court to the owner’s box.

 

Today, Michael Jordan stands as the pro sports template for NBA stars such as LeBron James who have amassed great wealth and may be interested in taking ownership stakes after their playing careers end. Other former NBA stars such as Grant Hill and Shaquille O’Neal also have minority stakes in the Atlanta Hawks and Sacramento Kings, respectively.

Expect the number of former players investing in NBA teams to increase over the next decade, but given the run-up in franchise values, outright or majority ownership may be limited to a very select few.

“Will 10 percent of teams be owned by players or at least have a piece? That’s not out of the question,” said one NBA team executive. “No one can follow the same path as M.J., but there are investment opportunities out there and a lot of interest across all sports.”

“It will no longer be ceremonial to have an ex-player [as part of ownership]. They want an active role and they have the capital to invest,” Milwaukee Bucks President Peter Feigin said.