LeBron, Wade Interested In Eventually Owning NBA Teams

Michael Jordan is the only former NBA great who currently serves as the majority owner of one of the league’s 30 teams. However, LeBron James – who is often mentioned alongside Jordan in discussions on the league’s all-time best players – would like to join the former Bulls great in the ownership ranks someday. And, as Joe Vardon explains in an interesting piece for The Athletic, James is uniquely positioned to actually make it happen.

According to Vardon, if James were to retire today and an NBA franchise went up for sale tomorrow, the four-time MVP would be in position to place a bid, given his net worth, his connections, and the cache he has built up around the league.

“Ain’t no maybe about it, I’m going to do that s–t,” James told Vardon, referring to eventually owning an NBA franchise.

As Vardon outlines, James doesn’t have “Steve Ballmer money” and couldn’t just write a check to purchase an NBA franchise outright, but a majority owner is only required to purchase 15% of a team’s shares. While LeBron’s estimated net worth is $450MM, per Forbes, that estimate likely undershoots the actual figure, according to Vardon, who notes that James has made a number of private investments and maneuvers in recent years that would push the number higher.

With the right group of investors and partners, James would easily be able to put together a group capable of making a strong bid for any franchise that goes up for sale, as LeBron’s business associate Paul Wachter tells Vardon.

“I would say it would take about five calls to find partners if LeBron wanted to pull together an ownership group,” Wachter said. “If LeBron sat down with his team to discuss it, it would take maybe two or three calls apiece. I could tell you people I’d call to be involved now, but of course LeBron has his own ideas and Maverick [Carter] has his ideas.”

This is, of course, unlikely to happen anytime soon, as James is in the first season of a four-year contract with the Lakers and is planning to continue playing beyond that deal, per Vardon. However, when the time comes, it sounds like LeBron will be ready, as ESPN’s Brian Windhorst wrote in his own story on the subject earlier this week.

Meanwhile, James’ good friend Dwyane Wade is headed for retirement at season’s end, and while Wade isn’t necessarily as well positioned to purchase a franchise, the idea of owning a team intrigues him too, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Wade has previously mentioned the appeal of becoming part of an ownership group that would bring the NBA back to Seattle, but told reporters this week that he’s not solely focused on one city.

“I love Seattle,” Wade said. “It’s great, Unfortunately it’s not a part of the NBA. When a question was asked what franchise you want to see back, Seattle was one for me. And we talking about who I want to be ownership of, Miami has first dibs and then I go from there. … Obviously, this organization (the Heat) is the first one I would love to talk about that when the time is right.”

As Jackson observes, Heat majority owner Micky Arison hasn’t shown any interest in selling the club, but he might – hypothetically – be open to selling a small share of the franchise to Wade, who could serve as a minority stakeholder after he retires as a player. As with LeBron though, that’s likely a discussion to be had down the road.

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28 thoughts on “LeBron, Wade Interested In Eventually Owning NBA Teams

  1. Guest617

    lebron has a high school degree and is regarded as the most insufferable teammate.. of course it wouldn’t be corrupt

    • justinept

      Jordan has a degree that qualifies him to teach high school guy class… and was also described as an insufferable teammate. Still, his only real fault as an owner is an inability to correctly assess talent.

  2. It would be cool to see him and wade team up with Chris Hansen and bring the NBA back to Seattle

  3. If you’re going to own a team, and show up at games for the rest of your life.. might as well do it in South Beach.

  4. What does he say to his franchise player, when he comes to him and explains that he’ll (probably) stay, but only if ownership agrees to sign his buddies and incur unlimited luxury tax?

    Jordan bought at a low point in the value of small market franchises, before the 2011 strike, when they were mostly bleeding cash, and, from a majority owner who felt duped by Stern into buying the thing and was “demanding” out. Not sure LBJ will have Jordan’s timing. Although it appears he’s at least as bad a GM.

    • Depends on if those buddies are trash sprayed with fabreeze or actual ballers.

  5. Black Ace57

    How funny would it be for Lebron to own a team with a superstar player and then lose him to Dan Gilbert and the Cavs.

  6. imindless

    Lmao and lebron would want to act like he owns the team yet would only own 15% lol. Never gonna happen lmao

    • Ptn18

      I can see that being a problem. People say Michael Jordan can’t judge talent. He’s spending his own money now. LeBron “loves” to spend other peoples money, and tell them how to do it. He’s Rich Paul’s partner in crime and the union vice president. How would he be with the shoe on the other foot? And if he decided to try to become majority, would he be willing to go to college? As a majority owner I could see LeBron switching coaches and trading every draft pick he has.

      • LordBanana

        What does college have to do with owning something? Such a weird argument, the guy owns a production company already. You can own stuff without a degree!

        • Ptn18

          Where you been? In America, if you want to be an executive, you have to go to college, Politicians, computer industry, food industry, auto industry, and on and on. This didn’t just happen. Research the NBA owners. Every one graduated from college.

          • x%sure

            So you think James has to go to college to satisfy some mandatory ownership protocol. Do you even know how witless you are?– Unfortunately, no.

            • Ptn18

              I know you hate anybody that doesn’t satisfy your fantasies with LeBron and you are wrong an awful lot. I know you can’t make up trades, because you don’t know how the cap works and have trouble with math. EVERY owner in the NBA has is a college graduate. That is FACT. As I’ve continuously said you think you are always right. Just because we differ in opinion doesn’t make us wrong. Once again I am right.

              • LordBanana

                So you’re saying if Bill Gates tried to buy a team they would send him back to college?

            • Ptn18

              The country has been trying to find ways to improve minorities lagging in education for decades. That’s why LeBron started his “I Promise” school.

                • Ptn18

                  Another reason for the school may be because there is not a player in the NBA who graduated from a high school in Cleveland.

  7. afsooner02

    They barely have enough between them to be minority owners….thought I saw the cheapest team was valued at 1.5 billion or so.

    With that said, if (and obviously I never will) I were to purchase a team, I’d want either one of them to be a minority owner to help with day to day decisions and talent evaluations.

    • x%sure

      Well, for my team, I want talent evaluators with a track record of successful evaluations. But a former allstar would be good to trot out for PR purposes.
      James is doing well with production studios. An NBA team, why?

  8. HubcapDiamondStarHalo

    I mean, why not? LeBron has already taken a stab at being a player/coach and a player/GM…

  9. mitchrapp

    MJ is proof that greatness on the court does not translate to leading a winning franchise. If lebron does buy a team better bring in people way smarter than him or little high school sidekick

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