The NBA Playoffs are officially underway with many second games of the first round already played by the time this story posts. Regardless of what team you absolutely love it’s a good possibility at the end of the playoffs we may see the same championship pairing as last year.
My team is the Robert Pera owned Memphis Grizzlies. Pera is the 35 year old founder of Ubiquiti Networks, a company that provides long range wifi solutions including some that are crucial in connecting emerging countries to the rest of the world. Pera is also a former Apple engineer. “Apple’s a great company, but I realized I wanted to have more success faster.” Pera said about his experience with Apple. That paid off when Ubiquiti went public and he was able to realize a childhood dream and buy the Memphis Grizzlies.
Most of America is intimately aware of the fact that the Dallas Mavericks are owned by one of the most popular technology billionaire’s and investors in the world, Mark Cuban. When Cuban is introduced on the hit show Shark Tank, the biggest thing he is credited with is his ownership of the Dallas team. They too made the playoffs this year, in the 8th seed in the Western Conference.
The Portland Trailblazers are owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who coincidentally is also the owner of the World Champion Seattle Seahawks. They too made the Western Conference playoffs this year.
Finally, The Washington Wizards are making their first appearance in the playoffs (and they won their first game) in the Eastern Conference against the Chicago Bulls, since 2007. This is also the first year that the Wizards have made the playoffs since former AOL executive and current partner at Revolution, Ted Leonsis purchased the team in 2010. Revolution is the venture capital firm based in DC and headed by AOL co-founder Steve Case.
There’s a chance that the Grizzlies will play the Mavericks or the Trailblazers in the Western Conference finals. It’s also possible that the Mavericks and the trailblazers will see each other during the conference playoffs. Either of these three teams would have to go all the way in order to see the Washington Wizards. The Mavericks played the Grizzlies in their final game of the regular season with the Grizzlies one point win 106-105 that left the Mavs in 8th place and the Grizzlies in seventh. Judging by the look on Cuban’s face courtside in Memphis that didn’t make him the least bit happy.
The NBA has a wide variety of owners from different industries. Herb Kohl, the former senator and Patriarch of the Kohl’s store family just sold the Milwaukee Bucks. Herb Simon, of Simon Malls fame is the owner of the Indiana Pacers.
Also worthy to note; Quicken Loans co-founder Dan Gilbert is the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers which lost their chance at a playoff berth to the Brooklyn Nets. Irv Grousbeck, the owner of the Boston Celtics, has ties to cable and technology and is also a director at the Stanford Business School’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies.
photo: Dallas News.