LeBron James on NBA Ownership: 'It's Not Like a Dream...More Like an Aspiration'

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistFebruary 16, 2019

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) argues with an official during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
John Bazemore/Associated Press

LeBron James acknowledged during his All-Star media availability Saturday that one of his goals is to own an NBA team upon his retirement, but he backed off what he told The Athletic earlier this week.

James told reporters:

"I was asked a question and, um, I answered it how I felt at that point in time. I believe if I wanted to, I could own a team or be part of a basketball team. I know I got so much knowledge of the game that I don't want to, once I stop playing, I just [do not] want to get away from the game.

"Obviously I'm going to be along with my sons, because they're going to play the game—they're playing the game now, and I'm going to be along with them. But if I can give back to this league in any way shape or form, and continue to make this league as great as it is today, then I would love to."

James had told Joe Vardon there "ain't no maybe about it, I'm going to do that s--t" when asked about NBA team ownership.

LeBron has a net worth of $450 million, per Forbes. The average NBA team is worth $1.9 billion; the Memphis Grizzlies ($1.2 billion) rank last. Leaguewide valuations have skyrocketed thanks to television contracts and the NBA's expansion of its relationships with overseas partners.

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Michael Jordan is the NBA's only majority owner who previously played in the league. He bought the Charlotte Hornets for $275 million; they are valued at $1.25 billion. Jordan owns 89.5 percent of the franchise.

James said any franchise he would purchase needs to be the "right fit:"

"It would have to be the right fit. It'd have to be the right city. It'd have to be the right situation. It's not like it's a dream of mine. It's more of an aspiration. See if it happens. If it don't, I won't be disappointed in anything I've done off the floor. We'll see what happens.

"I got a lot more game to play. I got a lot. A ton more years to play this game and suit up and be in a Lakers uniform. Once we get to that point, we'll cross that path. Hopefully I can sit up here and answer questions as a player for a long time."

Before his NBA career, Jordan played college basketball at North Carolina and went to Emsley A. Laney High School in Wilmington.

James grew up in Akron, Ohio, making the Cleveland Cavaliers the most logical choice. That said, given his rocky relationship with owner Dan Gilbert, a purchase may be easier desired than accomplished.