As sports fans, we all grow up wishing and hoping to be a superstar professional athlete someday. As we get older, most of us experience the harsh reality that we just don't have the skills to live out that incredible childhood dream, but we never lose that desire to be part of a professional team. After the shock and sadness of the harsh reality wears off many people shift their dream to the idea of someday becoming the owner of a sports franchise. Mark Cuban, for example, was just a regular guy growing up, he was not born to millionaire parents, but when he struck it rich in the tech world he did what we all would do, he bought a professional sports franchise.
Being the owner of a team would be incredibly fun and exciting, but let's not forget that there is also some work involved with such a lofty endeavor. To be the owner means you are responsible for the hiring and firing of team presidents, general managers, and sometimes players themselves, as well as many many other duties. We all like to imagine if we were owners we would have great relationships with our favorite athletes and be the lovable owner. That however, is not always the case for people who are lucky enough to purchase a franchise. Today we will look at the 15 worst owners in sports today. There are many ways to blunder such a great opportunity as we will soon see.
15 15. Jerry Jones - Dallas Cowboys
Jerry Jones is the quintessential meddling owner. He just can't seem to let the professionals do the job he pays them to do. Jones once owned a very proud and successful organization. Jones purchased the team in 1990, and immediately cleaned house. He fired the only coach the Cowboys had ever know, Tom Landry, he also fired the General Manager and hired himself as the new President of Operations. He then hired his old teammate Jimmy Johnson to be the coach of the team. During the early years, with Johnson at the helm, the Dallas Cowboys were "America's Team" and had an amazing run, including Super Bowl championships in 1992, 1993, and 1995.
14 14. Jim Irsay - Indianapolis Colts
If you like to party, Jim Irsay may be the kind of friend you want. Irsay comes from a wealthy background and is an ex-athlete himself. He also has a criminal history related to drug and alcohol abuse. In 1997 Irsay was awarded the franchise after an ugly legal battle with his step-mother, and at 37 Irsay became the youngest person to ever own an NFL franchise. Since 1997 the Colts as a team have seen great success, thanks in large part to the drafting of Peyton Manning and under the current guidance of Andrew Luck.
13 13. Peter Angelos - Baltimore Orioles
In 2009, a Sports Illustrated article detailing the worst owners in baseball, ranked Angelos the worst owner in baseball. I guess it depends what side of the fence you are on when it comes to ranking good vs bad. Just weeks after the article was released, Brady Anderson, a member of the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame said that Angelos should be ranked as the best owner in baseball. The reasons for Angelos' polarizing opinions traces back to his days as an attorney and as a labor-management negotiator.
12 12. Mikhail Prokhorov - Brooklyn Nets
Prokhorov, pronounced pro-ko-roff, took over the Nets franchise in 2009 when he became the first non-North American team owner in the NBA. Mikhail is the kind of owner who has a hands on approach with his team. That is becoming a common theme on this list, but in this case it might not be the worst thing if only Prokhorov had the time to give the team the attention it needs, as well as if he actually knew anything about basketball. He is a very busy man, and to be the head of an NBA organization it takes attention to detail, Prokhorov, unfortunately does not have the time to devote to that.
11 11. James Dolan - New York Knicks
The Mecca of basketball deserves so much better than James Dolan. Where do you begin with Dolan? He led the Knicks through the decade of the 2000s without a single playoff berth. Dolan is the guy who signed Allan Houston to a six year max contract for $100 million, when no other team was offering Houston $75 million. Dolan is the same guy who hired Isiah Thomas to run the basketball operations. Isiah, as hard as he tried, had no luck making a winner out of New York City. On top of his horrible moves guiding the team, Dolan was equally, or worse behind the scenes.
10 10. Ford Family - Detroit Lions
William Clay Ford bought the Detroit Lions in 1953 for $4.5 million; what a deal right?! William died in 2014, at the age of 88, leaving the Lions to his wife Martha. The Lions have been the most abysmal franchise in football history, and much of the blame for that is attributed to the Ford family. The Fords have been unwilling to spend money on key free agents throughout their tenure as owners. They have had players like Calvin Johnson and Mathew Stafford, who are great individual talents, but never surrounded by anything worth a lick their entire career.
9 9. Hank and Hal Stienbrenner - New York Yankees
In 2010 the George Steinbrenner passed away, and with him went the tradition of success that has always been synonymous with the pinstripes of the New York Yankees. His two bumbling baffoon sons have mad a mockery of what used to be an extremely proud and illustrious organization. Hank and Hal have helped lead the Yankees to arguably their worst decade in the history of the 115 year old franchise. In 2008 the Yankees lost their great manager Joe Torre, and the sons decided to replace him with first time coach Joe Gerardi. It has been a trying time for the Yanks since George passed.
Hank and Hal were left with a team ready to rebuild, and the two inexperienced owners had no plan. The writing was on the wall that Torre was ready to move on in his career, and the best the Yankees could do was to hire a first time manager.
8 8. Michael Jordan - Charlotte Hornets
Michael Jordan is probably the greatest basketball player to ever play the game. However, being a great player does not translate to being a great owner. There is no denying Jordan's competitive fire and will to win, but as an owner you do not get to participate in the actual game. The upper-management and front office game are much different than that of the game played on the court. Jordan has been majority owner of the Charlotte franchise since 2010, but had been a minority owner since 2006. In '06 he immediately took over responsibility of all basketball operations.
The mistakes MJ has made during his time as owner and primary decision maker have been well chronicled. In his first signature move as president of basketball, Jordan drafted Adam Morrison with the 3rd overall pick in the draft. Morrison has since gone down as one of the worst flops in NBA history. It doesn't end there for MJ either, Jordan has traded away some of his franchises best players and received scrubs in return, including the trades of Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson just after the franchise made the playoffs for the first time back in 2009.
7 7. Dan Gilbert - Cleveland Cavaliers
Dan Gilbert is the luckiest owner in the history of sports. In 2010 LeBron James made a decision to leave his home state of Ohio in search of championships. After the move by James, Dan Gilbert wrote a letter to his team's fans. In the letter he said some of the most immature and juvenile things I have ever heard a man of such prestige say. In all caps he wrote, "I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER 'KING' WINS ONE." He also said, "The self-declared former "King" will be taking the "curse" with him down south. And until he does "right" by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma."
6 6. Jimmy Haslam - Cleveland Browns
Sorry Cleveland, but that is back to back owners on our list. There is a reason why, before LeBron and the Cavs championship this season, you were the saddest sports city in America. In 2012, billionaire businessman Jimmy Haslam bought the woeful Cleveland Browns for a whopping $1 billion. Since purchasing the team, Haslam has seen a revolving door at the coaching position. In five seasons the Browns have had four different coaches. As the cycle of coaches has ran through Cleveland, they have each performed at an abysmal level, going a combined 23-57 as a franchise.
5 5. Jim Buss - Los Angeles Lakers
4 4. Jeffrey Loria - Miami Marlins
3 3. Clay Bennett - Oklahoma City Thunder
The deceitful and shameful acts of Clay Bennett and the NBA during the relocation process in 2006 give credence to all the NBA bashers. Clay Bennett bought the Seattle SuperSonics from Starbucks mogul Howard Schultz in 2006 under a condition that Clay would give a good faith effort to keep the team in Seattle if possible. Bennett and the NBA gave no such effort. This would be proven factual when Bennett had a leak in his emails, and emails from 2006 showed Bennett working with OKC officials to relocate the team.
2 2. Charles Wang - New York Islanders
Charles Wang is an outside the box kind of thinker and sometime that works to his advantage, other times it make his look a bit silly. He was once a proposed the idea of inserting a sumo wrestler in as the team goalie. His crazy ideas are not worthy of number two on our list but they are funny nonetheless. There are other reasons why Wang is a much maligned owner.
1 1. Dan Snyder - Washington Redskins
The fans have spoken and they are not happy with Dan Snyder. In 1999 Snyder made a $500 million purchase, and since then the team has gone 117-155. That is not a good start for Snyder. In 16 seasons, Snyder has seen his team coached by eight different men, another bad sign. Snyder has claimed that he has great fan support. In 2008 he even claimed he had over 200,000 people on his season ticket waiting list.
What's odd about 2008, is that Snyder sued many of his season ticket holders, because they were unable to pay due to the recession. In 2009 Snyder banned all signs from FedEx Field; that ban lasted less than one season. Between the ineptitude on the field to the dysfunction in the front office, it is a wonder how they team has any fans at all, but these are not the only issues facing the football team in Washington.
As we all have heard by now, there is great debate over the name of the team. Snyder has been bold and at times aggressive in his defense of the racist team name. Snyder has even gone as far as to invite fans to root for a new team if they have a problem with his franchise's name. It seems like it won't be long before Snyder completely ruins a once proud organization.
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