Las Vegas hasn’t been awarded an NBA team as yet, but when (and if) it happens, two Lakers greats in LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal could be fighting over ownership.
After the Lakers preseason win over the Nets on Monday, LeBron was asked about his desire to own an NBA team in Vegas and specifically, what it is about the city makes him want to own a team there.
“It just makes sense,” James said in the postgame press conference, after declaring his wish to own a Vegas team last year. “Obviously, you have the Raiders here. You have the Knights here. You have the Aces here. You got F1 coming very soon. You know, all-star weekend has been there a few times. We have NBA Summer League that’s very popular. Sports is, it’s here. You know, I think adding an NBA franchise here would just add to the momentum that’s going on in this town. It’s an attraction. You don’t have to worry about getting fan support or nothing like that. I think it’s only right. I think it’s only a matter of time.”
King James isn’t the only one that wants a piece of the Vegas action.
Which would usually be fine, because NBA teams traditionally have more than one owner.
But Shaq has made it clear that he wants sole owner of a team in ‘Sin City’.
“I would like to have my own group,” Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal told The Messenger. “I know Vegas hasn’t been awarded an NBA team yet, but if they ever get to a point where they are awarded a team, I would like to be a part of that. I don’t want to partner up with nobody. I want it all for myself.”
The four-time Lakers champion went on to explain the unique situation he finds himself in.
“I’ve been living in Las Vegas for over 20 years,” O’Neal said. “I love it here. Las Vegas has always been a city you knew was going to grow. You could see different casinos, different real estate projects and different night clubs popping up. I’ve always been a part of it. I used to own one of the hottest night clubs, sold it and now I got 9-10 restaurants here. I’m doing very, very well and I want to continue to grow with Vegas.”
During NBA’s Summer League, NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced that the league will look at possible expansion once the next media rights deals are done in 2025.
Las Vegas, along with Seattle, have been the two places rumored to be getting a possible team for a number of years.
Owning a team won’t come cheap though, as we saw when Mat Ishbia bought Phoenix for $4 billion and Michael Jordan sold his majority stake in Charlotte for a reported $3 billion.
Shaq’s current net worth is around $400 million, while LeBron’s is around $1 billion.
It will be interesting to see how this one plays out.