The viral video of Jim Dolan’s altercation with a New York Knicks fan who told him to “sell the team” begs the question: If Dolan indeed did sell the team, who would buy it?
Forbes lists the Knicks as the NBA’s most valuable franchise, worth about $4 billion. And Dolan himself has said there have been feelers in the $5 billion range, but that “no one has come through with a bona fide offer.”
So who could?
According to Forbes, there are 2,208 billionaires in the world, so there are plenty of folks out there with the money. Anecdotal research (word on the street) suggests that if Dolan were to sell the Knicks, he would still hang on to many parts of his company … including Madison Square Garden itself, and Radio City Music Hall.
That would leave one billionaire paying rent to another billionaire … so that may cull down the list. Because when there is a “b” instead of an “m” in front of “illionaire” …. well, those folks don’t like the word “rent.”
In case you missed the video, here it is:
But let’s assume that a few of those 2,208 very, very, very rich men would summon the fortitude to write a check to the Dolan family each month in exchange for the privilege of owning the team that will have more than $75 million in salary cap space this summer to spend in free agency.
Five Candidates to Buy Knicks
Jeff Bezos: The owner of the Washington Post has one thing in common: Media ownership. Dolan’s brother, Patrick, owns Newsday … the newspaper that has a monopoly on coverage in Long Island, N.Y. He is a graduate of Princeton, which gives him something in common with Steve Mills, the Knicks vice president who was college teammates with Craig Robinson, Michele Obama’s brother-in-law, and David Blatt, the Israeli coaching legend currently leading Olympiacos in Greece.
NFL owners reportedly want Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to join the club by purchasing the Seattle Seahawks franchise, per Yahoo! Sports. Once he gets his divorce figured out, Bezos could conceivably kick the tires. He worked on Wall Street before founding Amazon, so his New York roots run deep.
Mark Zuckerburg: Long before he was misleading Congress and/or selling users’ data to third parties, the founder of Facebook was born in White Plains, N.Y. — not far from the Knicks suburban headquarters in Tarrytown, NY. He and wife Pricilla Chan have pledged that over the course of their lives they would give the majority of their wealth to “advancing human potential and promoting equality.”
No NBA team has done less in the past two decades to advance their human potential than the Knicks, who have the NBA’s worst record and have not won a playoff series since the 2012-13 season, and this will mark their fifth consecutive season missing the playoffs.
Donald Trump: At a certain point, you would imagine he would grow tired of feuding with Anne Coulter, serving fast food to visiting national championship teams and butting heads with Kim Jong-Un. Also, there is that pesky Mueller report thing, which sort of looms large if the FBI still has any juice. Trump has attended his fair share of Knicks games, there is a Burger King a block away from MSG, and Trump may be the lone human walking the Earth who could make Spike Lee non-renew his season tickets.
Trump was a sports owner once when the fledgling USFL formed in the late 1980s and Trump owned the New Jersey Generals. Would give him another outlet to debate social policy with Mark Cuban. Worth noting: Trump’s worth is $3.1 billion, according to Forbes so he might need to find a партнер.
Michael Bloomberg: The former Mayor could find no better place to ban soft drink containers larger than 16 ounces than Madison Square Garden, forcing patrons to double up on $8 Sprites when they go for a trip to the hot dog concessionaire. Dolan might actually welcome the idea of selling to the former Mayor of New York City, whose media company published a “Dolan gets a bad rap” story, quoting former NBA commissioner David Stern.
Larry Ellison: The CEO of Oracle has engaged in talks to buy an NBA team before (back when he was settling for scooping up large swaths of Hawaiian islands), so this is not really an impossibility. Ellison came in at No. 10 on the billionaire’s list, so he has the cheddar. Yachting is more his speed, but the guy was born in New York City and is named after Ellis Island (his adoptive father chose that name, according to Wikipedia).