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#pounditFriday, June 14, 2024

Adam Silver addresses possibility of LIV-style takeover in NBA

Adam Silver speaking

Jun 2, 2022; San Francisco, California, USA; NBA commissioner Adam Silver talks to media before game one of the 2022 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The world of golf is still reeling from the recent merger between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour.

The diplomatic end to the years-long drama — which resulted in Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund effectively buying their way into the PGA Tour — has raised questions about the possibility of a similar saga happening within other American sports leagues.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was asked about that very topic during his recent appearance at the Associated Press Sports Editors convention. Silver declared that while he doesn’t want to definitively shut the door for good, the idea of a sovereign wealth fund purchasing an NBA team is not going to happen on his watch “for the foreseeable future.”

The primary reason he gave revolved around the idea of wanting a face, a singular person that people can identify with, in charge of connecting to a franchise’s players and fans.

“I mean, it’s very important to us, putting aside sovereign wealth funds that individuals are in a position to control our teams, be responsible to the fans, be responsible to their partners and to the players,” Silver said during a Q&A session at the convention, via ESPN’s Tim Bontemps.

“It’s very important to us that there be a person [in charge], and this is independent of sovereign wealth funds. I think that in terms of the connection with the community, the connection with the players and their other partners in the league.”

Franchise owners have long been a very visible part of the NBA. Billionaires like Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban are among the many owners you’ll find attending most of their teams’ contests.

But beyond just bankrolling player salaries and watching games, these owners also become public figures within the communities they operate. Owners have also been held accountable for their actions when necessary. Former Clippers owner Donald Sterling was pushed out in 2014, and in February, Robert Sarver sold the Phoenix Suns amid controversial allegations.

Would a sovereign wealth fund connect to its local community or be held accountable for off-court matters? The possibility sounds like a situation the league prefers to avoid.


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