The surprise intent to sell the Houston Rockets can’t help but bring attention to the first daughter of Houston, Beyonce Knowles. Everything she touches turns to gold, music, business, branding even some dude named Shawn Carter I hadn’t heard of until their 2008 wedding.
It would be a magical pairing instantaneously turning the Rockets into the new Showtime Lakers. And it may happen on a small scale. Jay-Z’s involvement in the Brooklyn Nets was the driving force behind the franchise’s rebirth and rebranding.
Ultimately the music mogul decided launching the Roc Nation agency was more compelling than owning a small piece of a franchise. So it seems unlikely that the couple would view majority ownership of a team to be a good investment.
I will hold out hope for Queen Beyonce’s involvement as a minority owner, but in the meantime here’s a list of some really rich people who could purchase the Houston Rockets...
- Tilman Fertitta, Landry’s
If the search for a new owner was limited to a casting call Fertitta would already own the Houston Rockets. He’s built an international restaurant and casino empire from the Bayou City, is the 235th richest American according to Forbes, stars in a TV show and serves as Chairman of the University of Houston System Board of Regents (where he attended school). Is he actually Mark Cuban in a Houston disguise?
Oh. And he’s already said he’s interested in buying the team.
2. Larry Ellison, Oracle
The 72-year-old New Yorker turned Silicon Valley billionaire is filthy rich after co-founding Oracle. There’s no notable personal ties between Ellison and Houston, but he’s sought an NBA team at several junctures in the last decade.
In 2010 he made the highest offer for the Golden State Warriors, but was spurned in favor of current owner Joe Lacob. In 2012 the then-owner of the Memphis Grizzlies shutdown Ellison’s interest in buying the team and moving it to San Jose. Similarly the NBA declined Ellison’s interest in the New Orleans then-Hornets believing he wanted to move the team.
If he’s still searching for an NBA team and over the idea of moving it to Silicon Valley his name could surface in Alexander’s office quick.
3. Scott Duncan, Duncan Family Fortune
Scott Duncan and his three siblings are tied for 2nd-richest Houstonians after each inherited a fortune after the passing of their father Dan Duncan, the co-founder of oil and gas pipeline giant Enterprise Products.
Could you imagine being just 33 years old, worth more than $5 billion and your hometown NBA basketball team just went on sale? I know what I would do.
4. Junior Bridgeman, Bridgeman Foods Inc.
He once owned the second most Wendy’s restaurants in America in addition to his more than 100 Chili’s restaurants and recently used his more than $600 million to move into bottling Coca Cola products. He also played in the NBA for 12 years as a swingman for the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers.
Bridgeman’s name came up several times when the Bucks were being sold by Senator Herb Kohl and in 2015 Bridgeman teamed up with Grant Hill for an unsuccessful push to buy the Atlanta Hawks. You’d assume the desire to own a team hasn’t gone anywhere for the former player.
He’d be the second former player competing for a title as an owner, joining Michael Jordan.
5. Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, Gallery Furniture
If you’ve ever seen a local Houston commercial you know Mattress Mack’s dedication to Houston. He was ready to give out free furniture if the Astros won the World Series and once paid for four buses to take Houston Dynamo fans to the MLS Cup.
Along with Fertitta he immediately announced his interest in buying the Rockets. But Mattress Mack is so dedicated to Houston his Gallery Furniture store never went nationwide and his net wealth is estimated below $100 million. At over $2 billion the Rockets could be the most expensive NBA sale in history and that would require Mack to produce same day delivery on one hell of an ownership group.
editorial note: the author’s first bedroom furniture was from Gallery Furniture and it was delivered that night, true to advertising
6. President Barack Obama
Love him or hate him there’s been discussions of President Obama being part of an NBA ownership group going back to 2016. It’s very unlikely the noted basketball enthusiast would be the majority owner of any franchise he becomes involved in, but as Jeb Bush is proving the mere involvement of such a high profile former politician is enough to brand the franchise as his.
Jay-Z only owned one-fifteenth of one percent of the Nets, he owned part of Barclay’s Center too, and the entire country viewed the Nets as his team. There’s no doubt the idea is far-fetched, but it’s not crazy.