Houston Rockets Find New Owner for $2.2 Billion
After the announcement by the Houston Rockets on July 17th let the world know that the NBA franchise was up for sale, the wait for a new owner felt like an eternity.
Finally, according to a tweet from Jonathan Feigen, NBA insider for the Houston Chronicle, we have our answer. The new owner of the Houston Rockets is restaurateur Tilman Fertitta.
The announcement of the sale to Mr. Fertitta shouldn't come as a shock to many, though some may not be overly enthused.
Tilman is an extended cousin of the brothers Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, former owners of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). The origins of the Fertitta family's wealth is rumored to revolve around mafia dealings out of Galveston going back over 100 years.
For those more concerned with the fate of the team itself, the concerns lie in Fertitta's willingness to spend money on big contracts for star players. With the landscape of the NBA moving rapidly towards the "ring or bust" mentality, opening up wallets can be the difference between a championship and irrelevancy.
Fertitta certainly hasn't been afraid to make his mark on the city of Houston. He sits on the Board of Regents for the University of Houston, and is the namesake of the University's new basketball arena. He's even created a spot for himself in the Houston skyline with his Downtown Aquarium's Ferris wheel.
As a new owner of the team, Fertitta has big shoes to fill. The Rockets' previous owner, Leslie Alexander, won back-to-back championships in his first two years as owner.
Interestingly, the second-highest bidder to Mr. Alexander's $85 million was Tilman Fertitta, who was outbid by a mere $4 million at the time.
Now, 24 years later, he finally got his team (for an extra $2 billion).