During the same week that LeBron James joined the “Billionaire’s Club,” the four-time NBA champion revealed one of his “retirement” goals once his playing career is over. This goal may not come as a surprise to some, yet the location of it may. So, where does “The King” want to see his empire flourish; and will the NBA help him achieve it? 

LeBron James’ popular television show “The Shop” has produced many interesting conversations since he joined the Los Angeles Lakers. James, himself made news last week when discussing what he would like to do during his post-playing career by first joking that he thought about becoming a broadcaster after Tom Brady signed a contract with Fox Sports for 10-years, $375 million. When the conversation of his life after his playing days turned more serious, LeBron James admitted that not only does he want to be an NBA owner, a surprise to no one, but he wants to own the team that either moves to or is added as an expansion in Las Vegas. 

Despite having a checkered past with Las Vegas, (see 2007 NBA All-Star Game), the league has likely seen the success of the Raiders and the city’s first NHL pro team, the expansion Golden Knights. While often relying on fans of visiting teams to attend their games, both franchises have been welcomed to the desert; and with every league now embracing and profiting from legalized sports gambling in many parts of the country, seeing MLB and the NBA add or move teams into Las Vegas is no longer taboo, but a matter of when, not if.

From a business standpoint, Las Vegas and the state of Nevada are a much more friendly place to expand an empire such as LeBron’s than Los Angeles for one simple reason … TAXES.

With no state income taxes, people and businesses enjoy the extra profits provided by the City of Neon Lights, something that James is likely being told is costing him millions every year and was the thing slowing down his joining the “Billionaire’s Club” earlier this month.

Even though LeBron James added another comma to his net worth, even James would need help buying into the NBA since it is projected that the cost of an expansion team would be at least $2.5 billion. This would also mean that whomever James partners with would want the future Hall of Famer to be the face of the front office … something, as it was pointed out in the interview, would be difficult for LeBron James to do. The difficulty lies in James’ high profile on social media, where he comments about a wide array of topics, including other NBA players, something that even as a part-owner of a team, would be forbidden under tampering rules. James may also find that having the freedom to speak his mind as a player may not be fully embraced by other NBA owners if, or when, he is allowed to join their club since words (or tweets) can very often upset both fans and sponsors.

LeBron James has been commenting a lot on his future after basketball in recent months by talking about playing alongside his son to now discussing becoming an NBA owner. Never above trying to control his situation, I wonder how much of this talk is to manipulate the system, convince a team that if they draft his son, he will go play with them … or, in the case of team ownership, is planting a seed with the league’s owner that I will be joining you soon regardless of if you want me to or not. Regardless, it may be a few more years before James ends his playing career, giving him time to put together a group that will allow him to have a large influence over a new NBA team. However, will the NBA wait for James to retire before they expand, and should they?

The answer is YES, the league should wait, and they probably will until “The King” is ready to move his empire, since they know it would be good for business to see the NBA’s two greatest players in ownership roles.

 


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Will LeBron James Become A NBA Owner? | TooAthletic.com





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