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NBA: Ranking Every Single Owner in the League from the Best to the Very Worst

Joseph FafinskiCorrespondent IJune 17, 2011

NBA: Ranking Every Single Owner in the League from the Best to the Very Worst

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    A lot of the NBA's success has to do with the men upstairs, the guys who run the show and treat it as their own.

    As Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, has displayed, over time they can become like honorary cheerleaders of the roster.

    Without the owners, the NBA would fold like a cheap suit.

    Some of these men aren't exactly good at what they do, while others impress their fans day-by-day.

    With that in mind, on my 20th birthday, here are my rankings for every single owner in the association.

     

    Be sure to follow Joseph on Twitter at @JosephFafinski.

1. Jerry Buss, Los Angeles Lakers

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    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Through thick and thin, Jerry Buss has done nothing but put his whole heart and soul into the Los Angeles Lakers franchise.

    He has won 10 championships as the owner of basketball's second-most title-prolific club, and seen the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, all top-10 players of all-time in my opinion.

2. Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The picture to the left epitomizes what Mark Cuban has done for this Dallas Mavericks franchise.

    After 11 years in office, Cuban has completely changed the outlook of the club and turned them into perennial contenders.

    He and the Mavs had a shot to win their first title in 2006, and five years later they avenged their previous loss to the Miami Heat en route to taking home the trophy.

3. Peter Holt, San Antonio Spurs

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Peter Holt was named owner of the San Antonio Spurs in 1993, and shortly afterward the team became a relevant mainstay in the association.

    Holt and the small-market club adopted a "Little Engine that Could" mindset and succeeded tremendously, winning four championships over a span of nine seasons while breeding one of the NBA's greatest players of all-time in the process.

4. Dan Gilbert, Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    As bipolar as Dan Gilbert sometime seems, you cannot deny that he is passionate about his Cleveland Cavaliers and that he is hoping to bring them one step closer to relevancy.

    Remember that LeBron fellow? Yeah, neither does he.

5. Leslie Alexander, Houston Rockets

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    Ever since he bought the Houston Rockets in 1993, Leslie Alexander has flat-out got the job done, winning two titles and developing a Hall of Famer in the process.

    Forbes magazine ranked Alexander as the best owner in the association in 2008, and three years later he is still top-five.

6. Mickey Arison, Miami Heat

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Mickey Arison essentially chugs along in his position atop the Miami Heat, a team that he bought 16 years ago.

    There are really no gripes about Arison, and you can't discredit the fact that the luxury tax was conceived by him.

    That spells success, and more importantly (not) a higher standing on this list.

7. Wycliffe Grousbeck, Boston Celtics

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    Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

    Wycliffe "Wyc" Grousbeck has been one of the league's better owners over the last decade.

    He is more interested in his team than the majority of the other owners, and regularly chats about his Celtics on the radio.

8. Herb Kohl, Milwaukee Bucks

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    Herb Kohl, also a Democratic United States senator, has taken on double duty as the Milwaukee Bucks' owner.

    Fans should revere this guy, because he has done everything in his power to keep the Bucks in Milwaukee as long as he's been owner.

9. Richard DeVos, Orlando Magic

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    Ever since he bought the Orlando Magic in 1991, Richard DeVos has done a lot of good for the team.

    He also has written a lot of books and put a lot of stock into South Florida's club by funding the majority of their new arena and carefully selecting people in charge.

    He goes about his business quietly, but he is great at what he does.

10. Ted Leonsis, Washington Wizards

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    This may seem like a stupid reason for a top-10 inclusion, but Ted Leonsis interacts with his fans and keeps up to date with the team more than the average NBA owner.

    He has published his e-mail address and routinely responds to fan requests.

    Another reason for his high standing has to do with the fact that he has tried to change the Wizards' name back to the Bullets.

11. Herbert Simon, Indiana Pacers

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    It's safe to say that three years into his stint with the Pacers, Herbert Simon has done a solid job with the team, and has been known to be more involved with the franchise than almost any other owner.

12. Stan Kroenke, Denver Nuggets

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    "Silent Stan," as he is called for staying out of the spotlight, is the majority owner of the Denver Nuggets.

    He rarely gives input on day-to-day decisions by the team, and it is for that reason that we can safely call him a mediocre owner.

13. Glen Taylor, Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Although not the flashiest of owners, Glen Taylor got the job done during the first half of his 16-year tenure with the T'Wolves.

    In those first eight years, the Pups made the postseason every single time, headlined by the development of a young Kevin Garnett.

    The next eight? Zero playoff appearances.

    In his defense, though, he is loyal to the team and will do anything it takes to keep them in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

14. Mikhail Prokhorov, New Jersey Nets

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    Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    Mikhail Prokhorov may be the cockiest guy on this list.

    At one point, he predicted that the New Jersey Nets would win a title within the next four years.

    As far as what he's done with the team, "not too shabby" are the only words to come up.

    On another note, his 6'8" figure makes him the tallest owner in the NBA.

15. Paul Allen, Portland Trail Blazers

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    Paul Allen, also owner of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks, has owned the Portland Trail Blazers for 23 years and has kept the team in Oregon while being very supportive of the cause.

    He is always seen on the sideline in his suits, and there is no doubt that he loves his Blazers.

16. Greg Miller, Utah Jazz

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    Much of the reasoning behind Greg Miller being middle of the pack has to do with his father, Larry.

    Larry Miller was the owner of the Utah Jazz for 25 years before his death, and it was behind those years that the Jazz were, well, the Jazz.

17. Peter Guber and Joe Lacob, Golden State Warriors

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    Peter Guber and Joe Lacob (the majority owner) are middle of the pack because they've done an okay job in their single year as the leaders of the Golden State Warrior franchise.

18. Michael Gearon, Atlanta Hawks

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    Michael Gearon and the Atlanta Spirit, LLC are so low on this list because of their inability to sell their team to the public.

    Can you think of another semi-big market that does a worse job than Atlanta?

19. Brian Roberts, Philadelphia 76ers

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    Comcast as a whole owns the Philadelphia 76ers, and CEO Brian Roberts is the majority owner.

    While he (and they) haven't done a terrible job with the team, it could undoubtedly be a better relationship.

20. Michael Heisley, Memphis Grizzlies

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    When Michael Heisley bought the Vancouver Grizzlies in 2000, he made a promise to British Columbia that he wouldn't move the team.

    One broken promise later, here he stands on the list.

21. Richard Peddie, Toronto Raptors

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    Richard Peddie, a man who also owns the majority of the Toronto Maple Leafs, has clearly dug himself into a hole with all of the Raptors' fans.

    He has been criticized for never focusing on creating a playoff-orientated team and for making bad decisions upstairs.

22. Jerry Reinsdorf, Chicago Bulls

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The summer of 1998 turned Bulls fans against Reinsdorf and general manager Jerry Krause forever when they failed to keep Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan and Dennis Rodman in a co-existing manner.

    He isn't awful, but he has made some stupid decisions over the years. He has been criticized for being cheap many times by the Chicago public.

23. Clayton Bennett, Oklahoma City Thunder

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    I know Seattle Supersonic fans are going to hate this placement (arguing he should be lower) but the guys below him are well-deserving of their respective spots.

    Back in 2007, Clayton Bennett announced his plans to have the historic franchise relocated to Oklahoma City, and three years later here we are.

24. The Maloofs, Sacramento Kings

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    Had the Maloofs relocated the Sacramento Kings this past season, they would have undoubtedly been a bottom-three force.

    Surprisingly, they stayed, but greed and gluttony has undoubtedly misguided them over the majority of their 13-year career.

25. Robert Sarver, Phoenix Suns

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Throughout his years as the Phoenix Suns' owner, Robert Sarver has been the subject of scrutiny among the Suns faithful.

    He's been criticized for not running them the way fans (and the majority of smart people) would run them. He has never surrounded future Hall of Fame point guard Steve Nash with championship-caliber talent, and for these reasons Phoenix will never like him, let alone respect him.

26. Tom Gores, Detroit Pistons

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    Even though Tom Gores became owner of the Detroit Pistons just two weeks ago, he still is above the guys you will read about in the coming slides.

27. James Dolan, New York Knicks

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    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Much of the New York Knicks' recent decade-long downfall was put on the shoulders of James Lorraine Dolan, and much of it was for good reason.

    And he deserves it: He's an ignorant, stuck-up guy. He hasn't talked to the media in years, and he's responsible for the hiring and wrongdoings of Isiah Thomas.

28. Michael Jordan, Charlotte Bobcats

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    In his first full season as owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, Michael Jordan did nothing of great importance in Charlotte.

    Although he is easily the most recognizable name on the list, Jordan hasn't proved his worth thus far on the owner-sphere.

29. Donald Sterling, Los Angeles Clippers

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    Nobody would disagree that Donald Sterling has done a horrendous job in his 30 years as owner of the Los Angeles, and that itself might be an understatement.

    During that time he has been accused of racism and heckling his own players, allegedly sexually harrassed his associates, and refused to pay for former head coach Kim Hughes' cancer treatments. Thankfully, some of his players decided they were better than their idiotic leader and coughed up the $70,000 necessary.

    He's practically a cross between Darth Vader and Al Davis—evil and evil.

    I'm sorry I have rip on you so much, Donald. I'm sure you're a nice—oh wait. No you aren't.

NR. NBA Board of Governors, New Orleans Hornets

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    While the spot for majority owner of the New Orleans Hornets is currently vacant, the NBA Board of Governors hold the spot.

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