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Barack Obama Wants To Own An NBA Team, Could It Be The Bulls?

By David Matthews | June 22, 2016 2:49pm | Updated on June 24, 2016 10:49am
 President Barack Obama told reporters Wednesday he'd like to own an NBA team after he leaves office.
President Barack Obama told reporters Wednesday he'd like to own an NBA team after he leaves office.
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CHICAGO — The NBA's fan-in-chief wants to be a CEO. 

Through a spokesman, President Barack Obama told reporters Wednesday he'd like to be part of an NBA ownership group after leaving office. 

Basketball has long been a part of Obama's personal life, as well as political narrative. He played on his high school team in Hawaii, and has a crew of well-connected pickup basketball buddies including former secretary of education Arne Duncan, Chicago financier John Rogers, and his brother-in-law Craig Robinson, the head coach of Princeton University's men's team. 

With new TV contracts and a growing global fan base boosting prices for NBA teams, it's likely Obama would need a well-heeled partner or 10 to acquire a franchise. But which one could he go after?

His hometown Bulls?


Not only are the Bulls the world's third-most-valuable basketball team (with a net worth estimated at $2.3 billion), they're also principally owned by Jerry Reinsdorf, 77, who has told his heirs to sell his other holding, the Chicago White Sox, in favor of the Bulls upon his death. 

With no farm system to run or competitor across town, the Bulls are simply more profitable.

"I've said this over the years publicly — this is not a lucrative business," Reinsdorf told the Tribune in 2013. "My goal every year is to break even with the White Sox."

With the Bulls presumably out of the running, here are the five cheapest teams according to Forbes that Obama could angle after:

No. 25: Memphis Grizzlies, valued at $780 million (reportedly sold for about $350 million in 2012).

No. 26: Charlotte Hornets, valued at $750 million (Michael Jordan paid $275 million for a controlling stake in 2010).

No. 27: Minnesota Timberwolves, valued at $720 million (former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is working to turn the franchise around). 

No. 28: Philadelphia 76ers, valued at $700 million (close to D.C.?).

No. 29: Milwaukee Bucks, valued at $675 million (sold for $550 million in 2014).

No. 30: New Orleans Pelicans, valued at $650 million (franchise player and Englewood native Anthony Davis is locked up long term). 

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