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The 10 most popular NBA owners

For basketball fans not blessed with athletic gifts, owning an NBA franchise might just be the ultimate dream job.

After all, you’ll be the one calling the shots while every major decision involving the franchise all goes through you.

You get all the perks as an executive, minus the headache that comes with a GM position or the constant scrutiny that coaches face.

However, this distinction is often saved for select billionaires with a true passion for sports. The NBA, of course, is home to plenty of such colorful individuals.

Regardless if they are loved or hated by the city, NBA owners do in fact play a major role in whether a team enjoys success or deals with failure.

Here are 10 of the most popular owners in the NBA today.

Mark Cuban (Dallas Mavericks)

Mark Cuban is the prototype of what a professional sports team owner should be like.

The 61-year-old tech and business mogul brings in an unrivaled frenzied passion for the Mavs. He is loud, opinionated, and loyal to his team to a fault. The staggering total amount of fines he accumulated throughout the years can attest to that.

Despite his never-ending beef with NBA officiating, Cuban has proven that he is extremely devoted not just to the players and fans, but also to his staff. Cuban is the first owner to make sure that arena workers at the American Airlines Arena receive full compensation even while the season is suspended.

Jeanie Buss (Los Angeles Lakers)

Despite not being as boisterous as Cuban, Jeanie Buss is revered for being the owner of perhaps the most popular franchise in all of sports. The 58-year-old inherited ownership from her father, the late Jerry Buss, and proved that she can handle the bright lights in Hollywood.

Jeanie has been involved with the family business at the early age of 19 when she was tasked to be the general manager of the Los Angeles Strings professional tennis team. Her private life even came to light when she was engaged to former Lakers coach Phil Jackson. The pair called off the wedding in 2016.

Steve Ballmer (Los Angeles Clippers)

Steve Ballmer might be new to the game but he quickly made an impression after acquiring the Clippers for $2 billion in 2014.

The former Microsoft CEO is perhaps best known for his comical fervor while watching courtside, which has spawned multiple memes online.

His goofy reactions aside, Ballmer will forever be remembered as the savior of the Clippers franchise following the whole Donald Sterling disaster.

Ballmer recently proved that he is not afraid to throw cash around, as he recently shelled out $400 million in cash for The Forum.

James Dolan (New York Knicks)

Unlike his other compatriots, Knicks owner James Dolan is popular for all the wrong reasons.

Sure, it’s unfair to blame all the Knicks’ misfortunes on one man, but Dolan’s questionable decisions throughout the years certainly fueled the Knicks’ suffering.

His notoriety grew even more following an ugly beef with former Knicks player Charles Oakley as well as devoted superfan Spike Lee. This, along with many other infractions, led to the growing public outcry requesting Dolan to sell the team.

Joe Lacob (Golden State Warriors)

Despite owning arguably the most successful NBA team of the modern era, Dubs owner Joe Lacob has maintained his rather low-key presence with the squad.

His humility was evident throughout the Warriors dynasty and he often deflected praise to players, coaches, and executives who formed the team. Lacob kept that his composure even while his team figured in a disastrous campaign this season. Despite the constant losing, the 64-year-old owner never pointed fingers and simply focused on how to get his team back on the right track.

Michael Jordan (Charlotte Hornets)

As soon as the GOAT, Michael Jordan, revealed that he does not have the patience for coaching, everyone knew that it was only a matter of time before he called the shots of his own NBA team. His Airness, after all, accumulated an unimaginable amount of wealth during his playing days, while continuing to fatten up his bank account through the Jordan brand.

Jordan first bought a minority stake with the Hornets (then Bobcats) in 2006. He ultimately became the first player to become a majority owner of an NBA team in 2010.

Dan Gilbert (Cleveland Cavaliers)

Like Dolan, Dan Gilbert also rose to prominence due to negative publicity. Following LeBron James’ declaration of moving to the Miami Heat in the summer of 2010, the Cavs boss wrote a scathing statement now infamously known as “The Letter”.

Gilbert strongly criticized how James handled his announcement and even proclaimed that the Cavs will win a title before James and the Heat. The pair have since mended fences before James returned to Cleveland in 2014 and gave the franchise its first and only title in 2016.

Glen Taylor (Minnesota Timberwolves)

Speaking of NBA owners painted in a bad light, Timberwolves’ long-time owner Glen Taylor also figured in plenty of controversies. He was suspended by the league in 2000 after signing Joe Smith to a secret contract in violation of the league’s salary cap rules.

The Wolves’ greatest player in history, Kevin Garnett, even refuses to have his jersey retired by the team due to his indifference with Taylor.

Joseph Tsai (Brooklyn Nets)

The Alibaba co-founder is also a new name in terms of NBA ownership, but Tsai has already made quite a splash during his short tenure with the revamped Brooklyn Nets. Under his watch, the Nets acquired megastars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving over the summer.

Tsai absorbed 49 percent of the Nets from Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov in 2017, before taking full reins last year.

He is perhaps best known for philanthropy outside basketball, donating 2.6 million masks, 170,000 goggles, and 2,000 ventilators to New York in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vivek Ranadivé (Sacramento Kings)

Unlike Tsai who managed to turn things around quickly in Brooklyn, Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé has taken flak for his inability to pull out Sacramento from mediocrity. The Indian-American business executive joined the group of Ronald Burkle and Mark Mastrov to purchase the Kings from the Maloof family in 2013.

The Kings haven’t made the playoffs during his oversight, with their last appearance dating all the away back to 2006.