What If Every NBA Team Were Run by Celebrities?
From Jay-Z to Will Smith and now Justin Timberlake, the NBA is starting a new trend of obtaining celebrity owners.
While the three I mentioned gravitated toward their hometown teams, it would be interesting to see which celebrities would fit in with their very own NBA franchise. Imagine your favorite actor or pop sensation also being in charge of signing the checks for your favorite athletes.
With that being said, let's dive in and pair every NBA franchise with their own famous owner.
Atlanta Hawks: Jonah Hill
Much like the Atlanta Hawks shedding a ton of unwanted salaries this past summer, the Hollywood funnyman Jonah Hill has lost a significant amount of weight in order to prepare for his roles in movies like 21 Jump Street.
The team and the man could relate to each other since both will be having fresh starts with their newfound shapes. The Hawks are moving in a different direction with some new faces on their team and a lot more room to move around.
Shedding Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams could help Atlanta move on from their borderline-elite status and rebuild to something better in the future.
Boston Celtics: Mark Wahlberg
Actor and former musician/underwear model Mark Wahlberg is a Boston native. I'm sure he wouldn't mind having a stake in his hometown team.
Wahlberg starred in a movie called The Basketball Diaries in 1995, and is also a self-proclaimed basketball fanatic. Even his "Bawston" accent would fit in with the team. If not, the fans would surely embrace him.
The Celtics would also fit his style of an older team competing and playing with the younger guys, much like Wahlberg has been put in roles meant for younger guys but still does a great job anyway.
Also, think of the nickname possibilities for Paul Pierce. Is Pauly Paul and the Funky Bunch not an option?
Brooklyn Nets: Jay-Z
This may be cheating a little, but I think Jay-Z is the perfect fit for a team moving to his beloved city of Brooklyn.
He's had a large hand in the relocation and even helped design the new logo and overall feel of the new Brooklyn Nets. Jay-Z's swagger may have even translated into making some big moves for the Nets, who could be on their way to their first playoff birth since 2007.
Things are looking up for the Nets these days and you have to factor in Jay-Z's presence as a boost to confidence and morale.
Charlotte Bobcats: Brian Scalabrine
Much like the Bobcats last year, Brian Scalabrine is often the butt of many jokes.
These two are meant for each other, and now that The White Mamba has hung up his kicks, it's finally possible. Two consistently bad forces ridiculed by NBA fans can finally join up Revenge of the Nerds-style and try to take on the rest of the NBA bullies.
However, given where the franchise is right now, those results may vary.
Chicago Bulls: Lupe Fiasco
I decided to pair up another resident celebrity here and put outspoken hip-hop artist with his hometown Chicago Bulls.
Lupe Fiasco would fit in well with the winning culture of the Chicago Bulls. He's used to being a winner since he has produced a lot of critically acclaimed music, never forgetting to pay tribute to his beloved city.
The Bulls had a lot of hits in the past and continue to produce good winning teams, but they are currently facing a lot of struggles with Derrick Rose's injury—much like Lupe Fiasco and his supposed retirement.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Taylor Swift
T-Swift has made a living off writing songs about having her heart broken, and now she has a team that can relate.
The Cleveland Cavaliers most certainly had their hearts broken when LeBron packed his bags for South Beach. I'm sure owner Dan Gilbert was playing Swift's "You Belong With Me" on repeat.
There's a lot of sadness in both of these parties, but Swift's uplifting story about rising from the ashes could be an inspiration to the Cavs, who may have found a soul mate in their second-year point guard Kyrie Irving.
Dallas Mavericks: Kelly Clarkson
The Dallas Mavericks had their shining moment in 2011 when they won their franchise's first NBA title—much like how Kelly Clarkson won the very first season of American Idol.
Clarkson, also a Texas native, would be a great owner for the Mavs since she understands how to maintain success. Dallas could use some help in that area after a championship hangover forced them into a first round playoff sweep at the hands of the Thunder.
The Mavs and Kelly Clarkson are both on the hunt for relevance again, so this pairing would work out great for both sides.
Denver Nuggets: Ryan Reynolds
The Denver Nuggets are considered a great team, but still out of the spotlight shining on an elite few in the NBA. They lack a true superstar to carry the team into a postseason run, making them just another playoff team without title hopes for the foreseeable future.
Similarly, Ryan Reynolds is a great actor that people enjoy, but his attempts at the spectacular have not materialized in awards. What these two also have in common is even though they may not garner all the success, it can still be entertaining to watch them try.
Detroit Pistons: M. Night Shyamalan
The best way to describe putting these two together would be a simple three-word phrase: one-hit wonders.
The Pistons were able to win the NBA Championship back in 2004 with a strong squad that brought Detroit back to their glory days. Though they would reach the playoffs year after year, they were never able to repeat their championship effort, and the core was soon disbanded.
M. Night Shyamalan had a similar experience when he shocked the world with The Sixth Sense. A twist ending (that I won't spoil for those who have been under a rock since 1999) proved to be Shyamalan's new calling card for every movie he directed.
However, Shyamalan couldn't capture the same magic and has lost his once highly-regarded reputation after putting out some stinkers like The Last Airbender.
Shyamalan would definitely feel right at home with the rebuilding Pistons as he tries to rebuild his career simultaneously.
Golden State Warriors: Jim Gaffigan
Ah, the lovable, very self-aware losers.
The Golden State Warriors haven't had much to cheer for in the past few decades, but the fans remain dedicated to their team. These same fans know how bad their team has been, and even decided to take it out on their own owner by raining down boos from the stands during a jersey retirement for former Warrior Chris Mullin.
Jim Gaffigan is a stand-up comedian who often makes his own faults the joke while still bringing in crowds. He is a normal, everyday guy who just happens to tell his funny stories to millions of people, reflecting the same kind of small-town feel that the Warriors have in the NBA.
These two could work well together and who knows, maybe Gaffigan could strike a sponsorship deal to change the home stadium name to "Hot Pockets Arena".
Houston Rockets: Phil Ivey
Phil Ivey may not be a household name, but he is a fan of the Houston Rockets and a very good poker player. He made his fame through competing on ESPN's World Series of Poker and winning eight championship bracelets.
The Rockets themselves took a gamble by signing breakout star and overnight sensation Jeremy Lin to a lucrative long-term deal based on a short sampling of great games. Ivey would be a great fit for Houston since he would know his way around big money and how to bet with it.
Ivey would also be a thrill to have in contract negotiations since he could easily break the will of some of the best agents and be able to call their bluffs and read their hands.
If Houston wanted a new owner, I would definitely put Phil Ivey at the top of the list.
Indiana Pacers: Shia LaBeouf
Does anyone else remember a young Shia LaBeouf starring on the Disney Channel's Even Stevens?
How things have changed. He has turned into one of the bigger stars in Hollywood after his successful movie roles in three Transformers movies and the latest Indiana Jones movie as well.
Much like LaBeouf, we have watched the Indiana Pacers grow up before our very eyes. A young squad with Roy Hibbert, Paul George, and Tyler Hansborough has blossomed into a potential contender after giving the Miami Heat a run for their money in the postseason last year.
Could the Pacers be next in line to be an NBA A-lister? Only time will tell.
L.A. Clippers: Billy Crystal/Frankie Muniz
Before the Clippers were known as "Lob City" or the "Blake Show," two fans withstood the test of time and stuck with them over the more popular Lakers.
Those two men were actors Billy Crystal and Frankie Muniz.
These two know the team inside and out and how far they came to be where they are now. It's only right they should be in charge of a team that has been the laughingstock and perennial younger brother of L.A.
With these two in power, they would give the fans what they want to see and find a way to bring another winning basketball team to the Staples Center every night.
Los Angeles Lakers: Angelina Jolie
For a team located so close to Hollywood, it's only right to put a big name like Angelina Jolie here. Much like Jolie adopting several children for her and Brad Pitt to raise, the Lakers have adopted their own talent like Steve Nash and Dwight Howard in hopes of finding success.
There's a lot of talk going on in Los Angeles about championships and possibly another dynasty team. However, the chatter can't be proven right or wrong until the season starts and we see how well this new Lakers team forms together.
Be sure to look to the Orlando Magic slide to see a further connection to my choice here.
Memphis Grizzlies: Justin Timberlake
Once again, I am going with a reality pick here. Justin Timberlake is already on his way to being a part owner of his hometown Grizzlies, and I have to agree with his choice.
He is a big basketball fan and seems like a fun guy to have around the front office in Memphis. The Grizzlies could use a little shakeup after finding themselves ousted in the playoffs time after time in the past few seasons.
Perhaps a little bit of JT in their lives could liven things up and push them a little further.
Miami Heat: Kim Kardashian
The Miami Heat are coming off a championship season and still remain the team to beat in the NBA after the formation of their Big Three.
Similarly, Kim Kardashian is a very high profile star who seems to have found her success overnight—the same way the Heat's trio of Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James was formed in just a few weeks.
Both of these parties are about the money and that's exactly how they got to the level of success and fame they're at right now. Kim Kardashian is willing to spoil herself, surely, and the Heat are definitely the best team money can buy.
Milwaukee Bucks: Michael Cera
It can be lonely all the way out there in Wisconsin for the Bucks, who are quietly establishing a pretty good team in their own right.
Michael Cera is like the Milwaukee Bucks of the acting world—he's a very awkward, quiet, and shy person, but holds his own in his acting roles.
The Bucks made some big moves by ridding themselves of their oft-injured center Andrew Bogut and now look to the future with point guard Brandon Jennings and newly-drafted forward John Henson. Maybe they can break out of their awkward shell and go socialize with the playoff teams in the next few seasons.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Rob Dyrdek
Rob Dyrdek is a pro skateboarder turned entrepreneur and is known for his unorthodox business ideas that have propelled him to success. In a similar way, the Timberwolves have somehow assembled a team that could be on the brink of a breakout with stars Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love leading the way.
Dyrdek would love to own a team that has made savvy offseason moves (signing Brandon Roy and Andrei Kirilenko), and he would really take to the fun atmosphere the Wolves created with their young talent.
The Wolves are projected to have a playoff team this season, with Rubio coming back from injury and Kevin Love continuing to be one of the more underrated superstars in the NBA. With hopes high in Minnesota, it's easy to see why Dyrdek would make this his next business investment.
New Orleans Hornets: Lil' Wayne
The New Orleans native Lil' Wayne definitely has plenty of interest in the Hornets and would be a suitable owner for a franchise with a bright future.
Lil' Wayne's rap career is still in full effect, but he may want something to do once he decides to call it quits. Given his multitude of interest in different sports, owning a basketball team from his hometown could certainly be an option.
The Hornets have a great situation right now with the young talent of first overall pick Anthony Davis combined with guards Eric Gordon and Austin Rivers. After losing Chris Paul to a trade with the Clippers, New Orleans may have a quick turnaround and be back in the playoffs in just a few seasons.
If Lil' Wayne did get a hold of a part-ownership of the Hornets, you can bet he will be attending every game, especially after reacting this way to a Hornets buzzer beater on the road.
New York Knicks: Tom Cruise
The Knicks these days are a lot like a Tom Cruise action movie: plenty of action and entertainment, but at the end of the day, there's no awards being brought home for their efforts.
New York has two resident superstars in Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, but they haven't been able to piece the puzzle together. However, they are still one of the NBA's biggest markets, and fans will still pay hard-earned money to see the Knicks play at Madison Square Garden.
This is similar to fans of Tom Cruise going to watch his newest action film. They may not expect the greatest movie of all time, but they will be entertained throughout and get their money's worth.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Katy Perry
Katy Perry is known for her colorful outfits and happy-go-lucky pop music which would go well with a similarly colorful Thunder team.
OKC is a very clean-cut team, led by the humble superstar Kevin Durant. They entertain the crowds with their flashy play and cohesive teamwork, all while finding great success season after season.
Much like how Katy Perry transitioned from Christian music into the pop scene and thrived, the Thunder moved from Seattle and found great success in their new home.
Also, I'm sure Katy Perry would have a field day designing some alternate uniforms using the Thunder's colors of blue, orange and yellow.
Orlando Magic: Jennifer Aniston
The Orlando Magic are hurting right now after a nasty breakup with their former franchise centerpiece, Dwight Howard, who left for greener pastures in Los Angeles.
This breakup resembles the way Brad Pitt—the Dwight Howard of the situation—ended his relationship with Jennifer Aniston to begin another one with Angelina Jolie—the Lakers of the situation.
Since then, Aniston hasn't found love that has lasted, going through several men and never sticking with them. Yes, she's engaged, but engaged ain't married. Could the same fate be in the future for the Magic? Without a central player to really build a team around, their fate could very well be the same as Aniston's—settling.
Philadelphia 76ers: Will Smith
Will Smith is already a part owner of the 76ers, so this was an easy choice. Everything about Will Smith just fits in with the 76ers.
He's always been known as a kid from Philly and his history with the city formed a nice bond and eventual partnership with the Sixers.
The 76ers had a nice run in the playoffs last year and pushed the Boston Celtics to the brink of elimination in the second round. They did trade star swingman Andre Iguodala, but got a possibly new franchise centerpiece in Andrew Bynum in return.
There is plenty to be happy about in Philadelphia for the Sixers and their current celebrity owner Will Smith.
Phoenix Suns: Alice Cooper
Rock star Alice Cooper has been a Phoenix Suns fan since his upbringing in Arizona, and his dedication to the franchise could be enough of a reason to invest in them as a part owner.
As for comparisons between the two, Alice Cooper can look awfully scary on stage— sort of like how scary the lineup looks for the Suns right now.
However, the Suns scary look is not a good one.
Instead, there's a lot of rebuilding to do after the departure of their franchise centerpiece Steve Nash, and the Suns will have to find their identity now in a tough Western Conference.
With a guy like Alice Cooper at the helm, his gloomy attire would certainly reflect the immediate future for the Phoenix Suns.
Portland Trail Blazers: Rob Lowe
Rob Lowe made a pretty big mistake in the 90s when he was involved in a sex tape scandal that could have ruined his entire acting career. Instead, he used his second chance and continues to have a successful career.
The Blazers could relate to making a big mistake. They drafted Greg Oden first overall in 2007 over current NBA-superstar Kevin Durant. While Oden had plenty of promise, he was plagued by injuries and the Blazers eventually moved on by releasing him last season.
Now they look for a fresh start with newly drafted centerpieces Damien Lillard and Meyers Leonard leading the way. Lowe knows about second chances and what it takes to recover from big mistakes, so having him around certainly wouldn't hurt the Blazers on their path of redemption.
Sacramento Kings: Nicholas Sparks
It only seems fitting to pair a world-renowned romantic writer with the sad story that is the Sacramento Kings.
Sparks was raised in the Sacramento area before the Kings were ever in town and he may not even be a basketball fan, but his interest to write a sad story about the love affair between a town and their struggling basketball team may make it worth buying a share of the team.
The Kings were one of the hottest topics in sports in the early 2000s, when they were a small market team led by superstar Chris Webber into contention for an NBA title. Now, they've had a playoff drought since 2006 and are still in a long rebuilding process. Not to mention the ongoing rumors of relocation as the Maloof family, who currently own the team, are struggling to make money in a small town.
It's a sad story for Sac, but could Nicholas Sparks write them a happy ending?
San Antonio Spurs: Tom Hanks
This may be one of the best pairings I've come up with.
Take the Spurs, a classy organization that is consistently successful year after year. Then you have Tom Hanks, who bears similar qualities of delivering strong acting performances and winning awards for his hard work.
Though both of them may not be the flashiest or most exciting to watch, they do what they do very well and are respected in their fields. Even battling against age, they both keep pumping out winning performances and their fanbase remains intact.
Toronto Raptors: Justin Bieber
If anyone could afford to buy a part of an NBA team right now, it could be Justin Bieber. He's a Toronto native and has even participated in the NBA's All-Star Weekend Celebrity Game, so he has an interest in basketball.
Bieber is often ridiculed for his teeny-bopper haircuts and crazy-obssessed fan base, but buying a part of his hometown team would save him some insults from angry American NBA fans, who would claim that bringing him in would be the ultimate downfall of their team.
Toronto is also on the rise with some quality young talent, and if Bieber got in on the operation now he could be making a little more money on the side while looking like a genius.
Utah Jazz: Emilio Estevez
During the 90s, the Jazz were one of the better teams in basketball, but were always outshined by the Chicago Bulls in the postseason.
The same could be said for actor Emilio Estevez, who's older brother Charlie Sheen was always getting the bigger roles. Sheen has also been in the spotlight as of late for his wild partying antics and catchphrase filled interviews, all while everyone has seemingly forgot about Emilio Estevez.
In a parallel situation, the Bulls are still one of the better teams in basketball and getting lots of attention, while the Jazz have been quiet in recent years, never truly competing for a championship since the days of John Stockton and Karl Malone.
There could be plenty for Estevez to relate to if he invested in the Jazz in an effort to bring both of them back into relevance.
Washington Wizards: Stephen Colbert
As a political comedian and host of his show "The Colbert Report," Stephen Colbert would be a very interesting fit as part-owner of a team located in America's capitol city.
Colbert is a very patriotic TV personality who would gladly support a sport America dominates with a team whose colors are also red, white and blue. His comedic ways could also ease the troubles of a team going through a rebuilding process with little success.
The Wizards would welcome Colbert and his dedication to the team and, hey, maybe Colbert could even use this ownership as a platform for a presidential run alongside fellow TV host Jon Stewart in 2016.
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