It’s no secret that the NBA is the most successful professional men’s basketball league in the world. The best players from around the world play in it and make a lot of money. This attracts big business owners who also happen to be either multimillionaires or billionaires. The owners come from all walks of life and own different businesses such as real estate, beauty products, investments, etc. To them, owning an NBA team is seen as owning an enterprise. Just like an enterprise makes or loses money, the NBA team owners also either make profits or losses. These all depend upon the decisions they make regarding their basketball team. They make decisions such as who they want as their general manager, coach, and players. They also decide how much money each employee receives. They all want their teams to generate more revenue by winning games and eventually an NBA championship.
All 30 NBA owners or ownership groups are successful in their own right in their business field but in order to make the top 10 of the richest NBA owners, they had to be a billionaire. This top 10 list includes owners who currently don’t have a good team but still make a lot of money to make the list. Some of the billionaires listed are famous for either causing trouble with the league head office or controversial in handling of their teams. Some of the billionaires have had more success recently with their NBA team than their business. Listed below are the richest NBA owners with their current net worth along with an introduction of the owner and their business.
10 Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks - Net worth: $2.7 billion
Mark Cuban is one of the most famous owners in all of sports. He is a self-made online media billionaire who made his fortune selling video portal Broadcast.com to Yahoo! for $5.7 billion in 1999. Mark Cuban and his longtime business partner Todd Wagner invested in many ventures after the Yahoo! deal. He is the co-owner of 2929 Entertainment, the chairman of AXS TV and owner of Landmark Theatres.
Mark Cuban can also be seen on TV appearing as one of the investors in ABC TV’s Shark Tank where he competes against other investors for startups. Cuban is famous because he is not afraid of giving his opinion which often leads to getting into trouble with the NBA. He has also received many fines over the years as the Mavericks owner. He purchased the Dallas Mavericks on January 4th, 2000.
9 Tom Gores, Detroit Pistons - Net worth: $3 billion
Tom Gores is a self-made global private equity billionaire. He founded his company Platinum Equity in 1995 with the intent to obtain non-core divisions of Fortune 1000 corporations. His company expanded its investments which includes public to private transactions and acquisitions from private sellers. The firm has attained 130 companies in industries that include technology and IT services, manufacturing, industrials, distribution, transportation and logistics and equipment rentals over the years. Platinum Equity has grown to be one of the top private companies in America. Tom Gores and Platinum Equity became owners of the Detroit Pistons on June 1st, 2011.
8 Charles Dolan & Family, New York Knicks - Net worth: $4.1 billion
Charles Dolan is a self-made cable television billionaire. He is the chairman and founder of Cablevision Systems. Charles Dolan’s family also helps run AMC Networks and the Madison Square Company. Charles first founded a company and then traded it a Long Island cable company. The company started with 1,500 subscribers and built into a major cable company with over 2.8 million customers in the New York area known as Cablevision. His son James Dolan runs the companies and is the executive chairman of Madison Square Company. James was famous for interfering with the New York Knicks and their daily basketball operations. Cablevision purchased the New York Knicks in 1994.
7 Daniel Gilbert, Cleveland Cavaliers - Net worth: $ 4.4 billion
Daniel Gilbert is a self-made online direct mortgage lender billionaire. He is the chairman and founder of Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans Inc. Gilbert founded Rock Financial in 1985 to sell mortgages online alongside his business partners. The company grew quickly and by the 90s had become the largest and fastest growing direct mortgage lenders online. In the 2000s, Rock Financial was bought and renamed Quicken Loans. Gilbert was still a part of the company and in 2002, he and a group of private investors bought out the company and he is the chairman to this day.
Daniel Gilbert is famous for his treatment of Cleveland’s star player Lebron James. When Lebron left four and a half years ago to join Miami, Gilbert wrote an open letter to fans declaring that James would never win a championship before the Cavaliers did. Both James and Gilbert have since reconciled. Daniel Gilbert became majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers in March 2005.
6 Stanley Kroenke, Denver Nuggets - Net worth: $5.8 billion
Stanley Kroenke is a self-made real estate and sports billionaire. He is the owner of Kroenke Sports Enterprises which include the Denver Nuggets, the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, MLS Colorado Rapids, NLL Colorado Mammoth and the NFL’s St. Louis Rams. He is also the largest shareholder of the English club Arsenal. Stanley Kroenke got his start in real estate when he founded the Kroenke group in 1983. The firm built various shopping centers and apartment buildings. He is also the chairman of THF Realty which is an independent real estate company that deals with suburban development.
Stanley Kroenke is married to Ann Walton, the daughter of Walmart co-founder Bud Walton. Together, they invested a stake in Walmart which is now worth more than $6 billion. Stanley Kroenke became the owner of the Denver Nuggets on July 6, 2000.
5 Richard DeVos, Orlando Magic - Net worth: $ 6.4 billion
Richard DeVos is a self-made retail billionaire. He and his business partner Jay van Andel (d.2004) founded Amway in 1959. Amway (short for the American Way) started out as selling multipurpose cleaner to friends and family door to door. The company grew and has $11.8 billion in sales. In 2000, Amway created a new subsidiary company Alticor in order to sell more products and create a new brand. Richard DeVos is also an author of several books. He retired in 1993 and his family now runs the company. Richard DeVos became the owner of the Orlando Magic in 1991.
4 Micky Arison, Miami Heat - Net worth: $7.1 billion
Micky Arison is an ocean cruise billionaire. He is the chairman of Carnival Corporation which is the world’s largest cruise operator. His father Ted Arison co-founded Carnival Corporation with business partner Meshulam Riklis in 1972. Arison was one of the leaders in acquiring P&O Princess Cruises which was well known and the deal was approximately worth $8.2 billion. The two names were merged forming Carnival Corporation & plc and made it the biggest cruise operator in the world. Out of all the owners on this list, he has had the most championship success as the Miami Heat have won three titles with Arison as the owner. He became the owner of the Miami Heat in 1995.
3 Mikhail Prokhorov, Brooklyn Nets - Net worth: $ 9.2 billion
Mikhail Prokhorov is a self-made investments billionaire. He is the owner of a private investment holding company Onexim Group created in 2007. Some of the assets that are owned by Onexim group are metal companies, financial services, media outlets, real estate development, utilities and high technology. Mikhail Prokhorov also aspires to become a Russian political leader through his party called the Civic Platform. Despite owning an NBA team, he has no interest in moving to the USA. He is described as a playboy and he is the first non–North American owner in the league as well as the tallest, standing at 6-foot-8. He became the owner of the Brooklyn Nets on May 11th, 2010.
2 Paul Allen, Portland Trail Blazers - Net worth: $17.1 billion
Paul Allen is a self-made investment billionaire and is the co-founder of Microsoft Corporation. He is the chairman and founder of Vulcan Inc. His multi-billion dollar investments include technology companies, real estate holdings and stakes in other various technology and media companies. Paul Allen has given more than $1.8 billion towards the advancement of science, technology, education, wildlife conservation, the arts and community services. He is the founder of Allen Institute for Brain Science, the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence and Stratolaunch Systems. He owns two professional sports teams, the Portland Trail Blazers and the NFL’s Seattle SeaHawks. He became the owner of the Portland Trail Blazers in 1988.
1 Steve Ballmer, L.A. Clippers - Net worth: $22.4 billion
Steve Ballmer is one of the world’s richest people and was the CEO of Microsoft from January 2000 to February 2014. Not only is he a world billionaire but he is the richest billionaire out of all of 30 NBA owners and ownership groups. Steve Ballmer worked at Microsoft for over 20 years and headed several Microsoft divisions including operations, operating systems development, as well as sales and support.
After he left Microsoft, the shares he possessed kept rising and in April 2014 he became the largest single shareholder. The L.A. Clippers were for sale as their previous owner Donald Sterling was removed due to racist comments and remarks he made during an audio recording. In August 2014, Steve Ballmer was the highest bidder among several investors for the team and paid $2 billion for the team. This made it the highest sold price ever for an NBA team. Steve Ballmer officially became the Clippers' new owner on August 12th, 2014.