If you don’t know by now, here’s professional sports’ worst kept secret: the biggest competitive advantage to any team is ownership. Likewise, it is easily the team’s biggest downfall too. Players, coaches, and management all come and go. The owners usually last until they pass away.
Here I will rank the owners in the NBA. As you will quickly see, there is a trend between success and good ownership. Here is part one, the best owners in the league.
- Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks– Cuban has always been willing to spend his money. He is a very involved and enthused owner. The recent sexual allegations from last summer are certainly a problem if Cuban’s prior knowledge is revealed, but until then, he is the league’s top owner.
- Peter Holt, San Antonio Spurs– Five championships in 15-year window. Everyone credits Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan for the Spurs’ successes, and rightfully so, but Holt has given all of the power to these individuals instead of selfishly taking it for himself.
- Paul Allen, Portland Trailblazers (Rest in Peace)- In 30 years as owner, the Blazers made the playoffs in 23 of those seasons, including two trips to the Finals. Allen is one of the most respected owners in league history.
- Steve Ballmer, Los Angeles Clippers– Ballmer is a very proactive owner and he gives a crap. That’s all you need to know about his work as owner.
Joe Lacob, Golden State Warriors– It’s hard to look past “light-years ahead” comments, but you cannot deny Lacob’s drive and willingness to pay the bills for a team well over the luxury tax. Oh, not to mention, three titles in the last four years.
- Micky Arison, Miami Heat– Three championships in the last twelve years speaks for itself. Micky is docked for waiving beloved role-player Mike Miller from the back-to-back champs in 2013. This famously really ticked off LeBron James, who left the following season.
- Wyc Grousbeck, Boston Celtics– One championship won and one of the best organizations in professional sports.
- Josh Harris, Philadelphia 76ers– A very involved owner. It seems Philadelphia is making the right decisions. I don’t put much blame on Harris for the Hinkie and Colangelo fiascos.
- Gail Miller, Utah Jazz– Widow of Larry, Gail has continued a sustained level of success for an excellent franchise.
- Jeanie Buss, Los Angeles Lakers– Heir to the great Dr. Buss (let’s forget about Jim’s stint). So far, so good.
- Larry Tanenbaum, Toronto Raptors– Chairman of the Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, Tanenbaum stays out of the spotlight for the most part. However, he has never hesitated to back management in whatever direction they wish to go.
- Dan Gilbert, Cleveland Cavaliers– Dan spends the cash, we know that from LeBron’s last four years in Cleveland. But Gilbert goes through management and coaches like the money he spends.
- Herb Simon, Indiana Pacers– Simon has stuck with Indiana through the thick and thin.
- Robert Pera, Memphis Grizzlies– Why is Chris Wallace still the Grizzlies general manager?
- Edens/Lasry, Milwaukee Bucks– It’s really too soon to say if they are good or bad.
Stay tuned for the worst owners in the NBA!