There’s no doubt that the players are the main spotlight in the NBA with their electrifying highlights and jaw-dropping performances. However, behind the scenes, the owners usually pull the strings in making sure that these players have the best environment to perform at a high level. Most of the richest NBA owners are actual billionaires from different industries who share the same passion as the players.
Richest NBA owners
In this richest owners in the NBA ranked article, we’re going to delve into the wealthiest individuals in the league. They are some of the most renowned entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and investors. These owners have amassed vast fortunes from their respective industries and have also become an integral part of expanding the NBA. They don’t just acquire teams, they are also the driving force that makes key decisions.
Here’s the list of the wealthiest NBA owners.
10. Wes Edens (Bucks) – $4.8 billion
Wes Edens is one of the richest NBA owners with a net worth of $4.8 billion. He is widely known in the financial industry as a co-founder of Fortress Investment Group, a global investment management firm.
Apart from this, Edens is also a co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks. He and other investors acquired the team in 2014 for $550 million. This new ownership has revitalized the franchise and brought a winning culture to the team. They slowly and surely rebuilt the team, invested in their staff, and developed their players.
This led to the Bucks becoming one of the top teams in the NBA currently. Their most notable success was when they the championship in 2021, led by two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.
9. Micky Arison (Heat) – $5.4 billion
Micky Arison is widely known for his business, Carnival Corporation, one of the largest cruise companies in the world. He served as their CEO for more than three decades and became a global powerhouse in the cruise industry.
Arison is also the owner of the Miami Heat. He played a crucial role in instilling a winning culture within their organization and in investing in the right people. Under his ownership, the Heat have won three NBA championships, including seven Finals appearances in the last two decades.
8. Josh Harris (Sixers) – $5.4 billion
One of the richest NBA owners is Josh Harris, who currently has a $5.4 billion net worth. He and his group bought the Philadelphia Sixers in 2011 for about $280 million which turned out to be a major steal for his group.
During this time, the Sixers were really struggling and it was almost a decade until they made some noise. Their last iconic moment was when Allen Iverson led Philadelphia to reach the NBA Finals. Harris decided to buy low and it turned out to become of their biggest investments. After a few seasons of “trusting the process”, the Sixers are now a consistent playoff team, led by superstar big man, Joel Embiid.
7. Tony Ressler (Hawks) – $5.4 billion
Tony Ressler is widely known for being the principal owner of the Atlanta Hawks. He is the co-founder and CEO of Ares Management, an investment firm based in Los Angeles, California.
Grant Hill and Tony Ressler bought the Hawks for $850 million in 2015, the latter being the principal owner. While the team certainly had some ups and downs in recent years, they have a good track record in developing their talent and creating a solid program under Ressler’s ownership.
6. Tom Gores (Pistons) – $6.2 billion
Tom Gores is the owner of the Detroit Pistons and currently has a net worth of $6.2 billion. Apart from being the owner of the Pistons, Gores is also the founder and CEO of Platinum Equity, a private equity investment firm.
As one of the richest NBA owners, Gores continues to make major investments in the franchise, including constructing their new home called Little Caesar’s Arena in downtown Detroit and signing Monty Williams, one of the best coaches in the league, to a six-year, $78.5 million contract.
5. Tilman Fertitta (Rockets) – $7.7 billion
Tilman Fertitta is one of the wealthiest owners in the NBA. He is the owner of the Houston Rockets and has a current net worth of $7.7 billion. He bought the team in 2017 for a record-breaking $2.2 billion from Leslie Alexander.
Fertitta became rich through their family’s seafood restaurant business. After being successful in the restaurant industry, he then later expanded to the hotel and casino industry. Apart from being the Rockets owner, Fertitta is also the chairman and CEO of Landry Inc., a multi-brand dining, hospitality, entertainment, and gaming corporation in Houston, Texas.
Under him, the Rockets have reached the Western Conference Finals once, and that was in his first year as an owner. After being a consistent playoff team for almost a decade, they decided to rebuild when they traded James Harden in 2021.
4. Ann Walton Kroenke (Nuggets) – $8.4 billion
Ann Walton Kroenke is the daughter of Bud Walton, the co-founder of Walmart. She currently has a net worth of $8.4 billion and owns several major sports teams such as the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche.
The Kroenkes are one of the wealthiest families in the US. They have their own company called Kroenke Sports and Entertainment (KSE) which own several sports team, including the Nuggets (NBA), Rams (NFL), and Arsenal (Soccer).
The Nuggets have been a huge part of the Kroenke portfolio since the 2000s. They have made significant leaps in the past decade, most recently in drafting one of the best centers in the league, Nikola Jokic. Moreover, Denver has been a consistent playoff team under their leadership. None of this is possible without the Kroenkes’ investments in the team.
3. Dan Gilbert (Cavaliers) – $16.1 billion
Cavaliers’ Dan Gilbert is one of the richest NBA owners. He currently has a net worth of $16.1 billion, making him one of the three owners who has a net worth of more than $10 billion.
Apart from being the Cavaliers owner, Gilbert also co-founded Quicken Loans, now known as Rocket Mortgage. Rocket Mortgage is one of the largest mortgage lenders in the US. This is the main reason why Cleveland’s arena is called Rocket Mortgage Field House
Under his ownership, the Cavs have made some significant achievements. They won the Larry O’Brien trophy in 2016, their first championship title in 50 years. This championship was significant for the city of Cleveland since this ended their 52-year sports title drought.
2. Robert Pera (Grizzlies) – $17.9 billion
Robert Pera has a net worth of $17.9 billion. Pera was known for being the founder and CEO of Ubiquiti, Inc., a technology company specializing in networking equipment and wireless communication. The company is currently worth more than $10 billion.
Apart from Ubiquiti Inc., he’s also known for being the owner of the Memphis Grizzlies. He acquired the team in 2012 for $377 million and it became one of his best investments. Despite being a small market team, the Grizzlies franchise is currently worth $1.5 billion. Their stock will continue to rise in the next few years as they are a consistent playoff team with a lot of young talent on the roster.
Despite their recent successes, they also came with a lot of misses, and the worst one was when they signed Chandler Parsons to a 4-year, $94-million deal in 2016. This is arguably one of the worst NBA contracts ever and it severely limited the Grizzlies’ chances of competing for the title in the next few seasons.
1. Steve Ballmer (Clippers) – $78 billion
Clippers’ Steve Ballmer is currently the richest NBA owner. He has a net worth of approximately $78 billion, which is worth more than four times as much as the next wealthiest NBA owner. Ballmer is also 37% richer than any other owner in the major American sports leagues.
You might ask how Ballmer got this mad rich. Before he bought the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion in 2014, Ballmer served as the CEO of Microsoft for more than a decade, from 2000 to 2014. Nowadays, he’s just an investor, philanthropist, and an avid Clippers fan.
Under Ballmer’s ownership, the Clippers have invested in top-tier talent and built a strong coaching staff to become a perennial playoff contender.