Las Vegas – Having wowed the crowd at T-Mobile Arena, scoring 23 points in 17 minutes in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 119-115 preseason loss to the Phoenix Suns, LeBron James He saved his biggest play at the post-game press conference on Wednesday night.
When asked about the NBA’s hosting of the game show in Las Vegas, James used the occasion to make a personal plea to Commissioner Adam Silver, to be the first to own the team if the league expanded to Sin City.
“I would like to bring a team here at some point. That would be great. I know Adam is in Abu Dhabi now, I think,” James said, referring to the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks’ trip to the United Arab Emirates. Emirates Airlines attended by Silver. “But he probably sees every interview and transcript that comes from the NBA players.
“So, I want the team here, Adam. Thank you.”
Wednesday wasn’t the first time James had expressed an interest in owning a team in Las Vegas, but that was definitely his direct announcement.
In June, in an episode of his YouTube show “The Shop: Uninterrupt,” James revealed his goal for the first time.
“I want a team in Vegas,” said James, who is already part owner of the Liverpool and Boston Red Sox. “I want the team in Vegas.”
Silver was asked during his annual NBA Finals press conference about the league’s expansion beyond its current 30 teams and said there were no immediate plans to do so.
“We’re not discussing that at the moment,” Silver said. “As I said before, at some point this league is going to expand steadily, but not at the moment we are discussing that.”
However, when asked specifically about Seattle and Las Vegas as potential expansion sites, Silver endorsed both locations.
“These are great markets,” Silver said. “We were in Seattle. I’m sorry we’re not there anymore. We have a WNBA team in Seattle in an almost brand new building that is doing an amazing performance. And Las Vegas, where we’ll be in the Summer League in July, has shown itself to be a great sports market as well.”
The Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers played a prep game in Seattle this week.
James took it seriously, saying that Las Vegas had “the best fan base in the world,” and winked as he put it, clearly aware that his statement would make some noise.
James, 37, entering his 20th season in the NBA, will need to finish playing in order to own a team. He would also need to be associated with an ownership group to buy a team, despite he has a net worth north of $1 billion, according to Forbes.
The newest NBA team on the market, the Minnesota Timberwolves, sold for $1.5 billion in 2021. The Brooklyn Nets sold for a NBA record $2.35 billion in 2019. The Suns are set to set a new record, according to a report from Baxter Holmes. From ESPN, it also showcases current owner Robert Sarver’s domains after committing to relinquish the franchise in the fallout from the league that suspended him for a year and fined him $10 million after a nearly year-long investigation into his conduct in his workplace.
James is under contract with the Lakers until the 2024-25 season.
“I think it’s a great city, the natural organic energy that’s here in the city, it goes hand in hand with the level of sport that’s been considered to be here,” Lakers coach Darvin Hamm said of Las Vegas. “It’s a no-brainer. On the way. I don’t want to speak for the NBA or the commissioner, but I think at some point you’ll see a permanent NBA team here calling Las Vegas home.”
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