NBA

A look at the 29 NBA team owners who, at the behest of Commissioner Adam Silver, could vote to oust Donald Sterling as Clippers owner.

Jim Peltz
May 3, 2014, 5:51 p.m.

As part of the NBA’s sweeping sanctions against Clippers owner Donald Sterling over his controversial racial remarks, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is urging the league’s other owners to push for the Clippers’ sale.

Silver said that if three-quarters of the league’s owners approve, or 22 of the other 29, they have the authority to remove Sterling as an owner. “We will begin that process immediately,” Silver said.

Here’s a look at the other NBA owners who would make that decision:

ATLANTA HAWKS

Principal owners: Bruce Levenson, Michael Gearon Jr.

Owned since: 2004

Background: Levenson and Gearon lead a partnership that bought the club from Time Warner. Levenson and another Hawks investor, Ed Peskowitz, co-founded United Communications Group, a business information firm. Gearon started a telecommunications firm he later sold to American Tower Corp. Gearon is the son of former Hawks executive Michael Gearon Sr., who remains a co-owner. In 2011 the group planned to sell control of the Hawks to California businessman Alex Meruelo but the deal fell through.

BOSTON CELTICS

Principal owners: H. Irving Grousbeck, Wycliffe Grousbeck, Steve Pagliuca

Owned since: 2002

Background: Wycliffe Grousbeck, a former venture capitalist, led a local investment group that bought the team for $360 million. His father, H. Irving Grousbeck, co-founded Continental Cablevision, which was later sold. Pagliuca is a managing director at the Boston investment firm Bain Capital. The Celtics won the NBA title in 2008, Boston’s first in 22 years.

BROOKLYN NETS

Principal owner: Mikhail Prokhorov

Owned since: 2009

Background: The 6-foot-8 Prokhorov, with a net worth Forbes estimates at nearly $11 billion, is a Russian industrialist who bought 80% of the former New Jersey Nets, becoming the first non-American owner in the NBA. He bought the stake from developer Bruce Ratner, who led the effort to move the team to his Atlantic Yards development project in Brooklyn. Ratner still owns 20% of the Nets but he’s looking to sell that remaining ownership, the Wall Street Journal reported last week.

CHARLOTTE BOBCATS

Principal owner: Michael Jordan

Owned since: 2010

Background: The legendary NBA player bought a majority stake in the club from Robert Johnson, becoming the first former NBA player to act as a majority owner of a league franchise. Despite retiring as a player for good in 2003, Jordan last year earned about $90 million, mostly from royalties via his partnership with Nike shoes and other merchandise, Forbes estimates.

CHICAGO BULLS

Principal owner: Jerry Reinsdorf

Owned since: 1985

Background: One of the longest-tenured owners in the NBA, Reinsdorf also is a longtime owner of baseball’s Chicago White Sox. An accountant and lawyer, he made his initial fortune in real estate. The Bulls, with Jordan as their centerpiece, won six NBA championships in the 1990s and today the franchise is estimated to be worth about $1 billion. Reinsdorf paid $16 million for the team.

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

Principal owner: Dan Gilbert

Owned since: 2005

Background: Gilbert is founder of Quicken Loans, a major online mortgage lender, and has a net worth estimated at $3.7 billion. He also owns Rock Ventures, which owns dozens of technology-related startup firms, and Gilbert’s Rock Gaming operates casinos.

DALLAS MAVERICKS

Principal owner: Mark Cuban

Owned since: 2000

Background: The quintessential hands-on owner who’s constantly courtside, the outspoken Cuban hit it big in the dot-com era as he and partner Todd Wagner sold Broadcast.com, an online audio and video firm, to Yahoo for $5.7 billion in 1999. Cuban, who bought the Mavericks from H. Ross Perot Jr. for $285 million, also is one of the business “sharks” on ABC’s program “Shark Tank.”

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