Some people are questioning whether Tilman Fertitta would be allowed to own the Rockets because of his casino interests.
Local billionaire businessman Tilman Fertitta told KHOU 11 Sports’ Matt Musil, “Of course I’m interested,” and owning the team is “a great opportunity.”
Our Verify Team decided to take a closer look at the possibility, and here’s what we found:
- Fertitta's empire includes the Golden Nugget casinos.
- In 2008, he had to sell his shares of the Texans, because NFL rules didn't allow it.
But what about the NBA?
- Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, also founded Jack Entertainment which runs casinos in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Baltimore and Detroit.
- The Boston Celtics minority owner, Gary Loveman, had a stake in the team while he was also President and CEO of then Caesars Entertainment which is a massive gambling empire.
- The Maloof family owned the Sacramento Kings until 2013 at the same time they also owned the Palms Casino.
In conclusion, we can verify running a casino does not automatically deal you out from owning an NBA team. But any owner will have to get approved by the league.
It was announced Monday that the Rockets owner, Leslie Alexander, who brought back-to-back NBA Championships to Houston would be selling the team.
Alexander bought Houston’s Rockets for $85 million. His teams immediately scored back-to-back world championships in 1994 and 1995. Then Alexander reunited University of Houston greats Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon. The owner also brought Charles Barkley, Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady, James Harden and added Chris Paul last week.
Photos: Rockets owner Leslie Alexander through the years