Rockets owner Leslie Alexander has announced he’s selling the team.
USA TODAY Sports
The Houston Rockets are for sale, CEO Tad Brown announced on Monday.
He said that owner Leslie Alexander, who bought the Rockets in 1993 for $85 million, is “looking at changing the fabric of his life.”
“When he mentioned to me this morning that he had made up his mind that this was what he wanted to do, I was very surprised,” Brown said. “But, at the end of the day, nothing truly surprises me because Leslie is a man of many passions and he’s got things he wants to do and opportunities that he wants to pursue.”
Alexander has put Brown in charge of coordinating the sales effort, the team said in a news release.
“It’s been my great joy and honor to own the Houston Rockets for the past 24 years,” Alexander said in the release. “I’ve had the incredible opportunity to witness true greatness through the players and coaches who have won championships for the city, been named to All-Star and All-NBA teams, enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame, and done so much for our franchise and our fans. And the Houston community has been home to me; I will continue to support the charities I have made commitments to throughout the years. I’ll always have a special place in my heart for the fans, partners, city officials and employees who care so deeply for this team. I’ve made this decision after much deliberation with my family and friends, and do so knowing the franchise is in great shape with the players, coaches and management team in place.”
Alexander, 73, had immediate success as an owner, as the Rockets won NBA titles over the New York Knicks 1994 and the Orlando Magic in 1995 behind the play of Hakeem Olajuwon. They began the ’93-’94 season by starting 15-0. Olajuwon was the league’s MVP that season.
“It’s a grind,” Brown said. “Even now, when things are ratcheted up more with explications … it’s been tough. I think (Alexander) had a good conversation with his family and with some of his close, close friends and he just decided it was time for him to make another change in his life.”
Forbes estimates the Rockets’ value at $1.65 billion, the eighth-most valuable NBA franchise.
“The timetable (for the sale) is to have the best stability sooner than later,” Brown said. “But we’re not going to rush a timetable because the management team in place is going to be operating the same way during this process as well as after the process. We’re going to make sure it’s the right buyer.”
The Rockets posted a 56.9% winning percentage with Alexander as owner, which ranks fifth over that period. They also had the second-most winning seasons of any team in the league over that span.
“Leslie Alexander is a true competitor who always searched for the right move to make his teams better,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “Under his ownership, he created a culture of excellence with strong management that attracted Hall of Famers, All-Stars and coaching giants and brought two NBA championships and four WNBA titles to Houston. Well-respected around the league, he has been an active and influential owner whose vision helped to grow the game globally, especially in China. Moreover, his philanthropy speaks just as powerfully as his ownership, with local libraries, women’s centers and homeless shelters all benefitting from his generosity.”