NBA megastars are handsomely rewarded

7-22-19 - James Harden - Andy Dolich
James Harden's long-term NBA contract is $228 million

7-22-19 - Kevin Durant - Andy Dolich
Kevin Durant's long-term NBA contract is $164 million

7-22-19 - Michael Jordan - Andy Dolich
Michael Jordan's estimated worth is $1.5 billion

Andy Dolich -- 2015

The Color of Money

By Andy Dolich

An unnamed NBA player was recently asked if he was nervous about his Free Agency. His answer, "Tomorrow when I wake up I'll be Rich or Richer!"

As we have seen recently, multi-millionaire megastars are being paid handsomely by multi-billionaires. Local media deals, new arenas and basketball's international popularity continue to push the value of NBA franchises higher. The average NBA team is worth $1.9 billion, up 13% over last year and three times the level of five years ago.

Recently the NBA has stated they want teams, their personnel and the media to move away from the use of the term "owner" to describe those with controlling interest of franchises in favor of the term "Governor." The change was made due to concerns that "owner" might be viewed as racially insensitive in a league where the vast majority of players are African-American and the majority of Governors are Caucasian.

Commissioner Adam Silver: "We moved away from that term "owner" years ago within the league. We call our team owners 'Governors' and 'Alternate Governors.' So I think it makes sense. As I said, I don't want to overreact but I'm sensitive to it, and I think to the extent that teams are moving away from the term, we'll stick with using Governor."

In my 50 years in the business of sports I've seen and heard the following terms used to signify the person with the most power amongst those that control the mountains of money necessary to sit at the head of the boardroom of a professional sports team.

Controlling Owner
Alternate Governor
Majority Partner
Minority Partner
Limited Partner
Control Person
Control Executive
Vice Chairman
Controlling Interest

As we know, active players are prohibited from investing in any part of a team in the Big Four Sports professional leagues.  As of July 12, 2019 the Top Ten NBA long-term contracts belong to:

James Harden -- $228 million
Russell Westbrook -- $205 million
Steph Curry -- $201 million
Klay Thompson -- $190 million
Tobias Harris -- $180 million
Kris Middleton -- $178 million
Kevin Durant -- $164 million
Lebron James -- $153 million
Mike Conley -- $152 million
Kyrie Irving -- $141 million

That totals up to a cool $1.8 billion bucks. No shortage of capital to invest in whatever franchises they want when their sneakers slow down.

Michael Jordan has been player, super star, mega star, Nike logo star and team investor. The Hornets Governor is worth an estimated $1.5 billion according to Forbes. Thought I would look at the titles of those who run the franchise with him. Here are the tiles on their official website:

Charlotte Hornets
Michael Jordan -- Chairman
Curtis Polk -- Managing Partner, Alternate Governor and Minority Owner
Fred Whitfield -- President, Vice Chairman, Alternate Governor and Minority Owner

As we know, the color of the fluid that runs through the veins of all sports and business is GREEN. The Top Ten TItans of overall cash in the USA are:
Jeff Bezos
Bill Gates
Warren Buffett
Larry Ellison
Mark Zuckerberg
Larry Page
Charles Koch
David Koch
Sergey Brin
Michael Bloomberg
$131.4 billion
$96.4 billion
$82.6 billion
$62.4 billion
$62.1 billion
$60 billion
$50.4 billion
$50.4 billion
49.9 billion
$48.7 billion
Microsoft, Cascade Investment
Berkshire Hathaway
Koch Industries
Koch Industries
Bloomberg, L.P.

Not that it really matters but these gentlemen and their families control a tidy sum of $694.3 billion dollars. As far as I know not one of them has jumped into the professional sports franchise business, although Bay Area multi-billionaire Larry Ellison has tried several times.

I'm guessing they can call themselves whatever they want.

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Andy Dolich has over five decades of leadership in the sports industry, including executive positions in the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, pro soccer and lacrosse. Presently Dolich is COO of the Fan Controlled Football League (FCFL) and teaches sports business at Stanford's School of Continuing Studies. Dolich is also co-author of the new book: