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Floyd Mayweather Jr. Says He's Talked to NBA 'Behind the Scenes' About Owning Team

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJune 14, 2022

HENDERSON, NEVADA - JUNE 13: Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. speaks during a news conference announcing an exhibition boxing bout against mixed martial artist Mikuru Asakura at The M Resort on June 13, 2022 in Henderson, Nevada. The bout will take place in September 2022 in Japan as part of a RIZIN Fighting Federation show. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Longtime boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr. said Monday he's been in communication with the NBA about joining an ownership group to purchase a team.

The former five-division world champion told Sam Gordon of the Las Vegas Review-Journal he's avoided public discussion about the idea, which he's worked on throughout the year.

"I've been talking to certain individuals for the last six months," Mayweather said. "That's something I've been working on behind the scenes, but I've never came out and publicly talked about that with the media. Me and my team have been working behind the scenes with the NBA. I can't say exactly where, but I'm working on getting a team."

Mayweather is one of the world's richest athletes, but he doesn't have the wealth to become a solo NBA team owner based on current valuations.

Forbes projected the league's "cheapest" franchise, the Memphis Grizzlies, was worth $1.5 billion for the 2021-22 season.

Mayweather claimed in August his net worth surpassed $1.2 billion, but Celebrity Net Worth estimates his holdings at a more modest $450 million.

Regardless, the 45-year-old Michigan native would need fellow investors to become a partner in an NBA ownership group.

"I've been working on that for a good while now," Mayweather told Gordon. "I've been working behind the scenes. I didn't want to bring it out until it was engraved in stone."

While he could join a current team, his comment about not being able to discuss "exactly where" the squad plays suggests he could be talking about an expansion franchise.

It adds more smoke to the fire that started last week when LeBron James said on The Shop he's aiming to bring an NBA organization to Las Vegas:

UNINTERRUPTED @uninterrupted

"I want a team in Vegas." 👀 <a href="https://twitter.com/KingJames?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KingJames</a> hints at his next big move on an all new episode of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TheShop?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TheShop</a> TOMORROW at 9 am PT on our YouTube! 📺 <a href="https://t.co/HIZKsBYPGF">pic.twitter.com/HIZKsBYPGF</a>

Forbes recently reported James became the first active NBA player to reach billionaire status.

James and Mayweather, two of the biggest sports stars of the generation, could combine to form the foundation of a Vegas ownership group, though there would likely be numerous others involved in the process.

That said, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver dismissed talk of imminent expansion during a press conference before the start of the 2022 NBA Finals.

"That talk is not true," Silver said in early June. "At least maybe there are people talking who are not at the league office about us potentially expanding after the 2024 season. We are not discussing that at this time. As I said before, at some point, this league invariably will expand, but it's not at this moment that we are discussing it."

Although he pushed aside the short-term speculation, it wouldn't be the least bit surprising if there are expansion teams in at least two cities—Las Vegas and Seattle are the popular candidates—before the end of the decade.