The NBA’s Ambitious Expansion Plans: Las Vegas and Seattle
Sin City’s Allure
In the coming years, Las Vegas is set to become a global sports hub. Following the successful establishment of Formula 1 and the presence of two major North American leagues (NFL and NHL), it seems inevitable that basketball will be the next addition to the city’s sporting landscape.
The NBA is on the verge of expanding its league with two new franchises, one in Seattle and the other in Las Vegas. The latter is the primary target due to its economic potential. Exciting developments are underway in Nevada, and top basketball stars are eager to be part of the new team as shareholders. Which celebrities might be involved in the bidding process?
Two NBA Icons
LeBron James has been particularly vocal about this issue. The current Los Angeles Lakers player, widely regarded as one of the greatest of all time, has expressed his desire to be part of this ambitious project on multiple occasions. Business ventures are nothing new for the Akron native, who already holds shares in companies such as Blaze Pizza, The Fenway Sports Group, and SpringHill Entertainment. His acumen off the court matches his skills on it. When asked about the NBA’s expansion to Las Vegas, LeBron confidently stated, “It’s only a matter of time, and I hope to be a part of it.”
Another NBA icon from the 90s and early 2000s, Shaquille O’Neal, is also vying to become an owner in Nevada. The former center for teams like the Lakers and Orlando has expressed his readiness to lead the NBA’s expansion. He even took a playful jab at fellow candidate LeBron James, saying, “If an NBA team ever comes here, I’d definitely like to be involved. With LeBron, without LeBron, I just want to be involved.” Both players were once teammates on the Cleveland Cavaliers and could now potentially join forces in the business realm.
The ‘Threat’ of Qatar and Saudi Arabia
These two entities have already made significant waves in the world of sports. Qatar hosted the 2022 World Cup, and Saudi Arabia is set to host it in 2034. Both countries pose formidable competition on an economic level, and the NBA is a prime target for their investments.
The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh bin Hamad Al Thani, and Khaldoon Al Mubarak, Mubadala’s operations leader, have shown a keen interest in basketball, according to reliable sources. They are actively considering the possibility of venturing into a sport that has not been the focus of their investments thus far.
It is worth noting that the value of the NBA’s 30 teams has been steadily rising, making them attractive targets for foreign investment. Franchises have experienced significant increases in value, reaching unprecedented levels. Just a few months ago, Mat Ishbia acquired a majority stake in the Phoenix Suns for a staggering $4 billion, marking a historic sale in the realm of sports.
Boxing Joins the Fray
Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, two of the most successful boxers of the past decade, have also expressed their interest in becoming NBA shareholders. According to reports, Floyd previously offered $2 billion to acquire a league team and become a majority owner, so his commitment to Las Vegas would be unwavering. Pacquiao, a regular presence in the world’s premier basketball league, may also be intrigued by this opportunity.
These are just a few of the notable figures who have voiced their opinions on the matter. While the exact timeline for NBA expansion remains uncertain, progress is being made. Sooner or later, Las Vegas will have the privilege of hosting a top-tier basketball team.