Tilman Fertitta
Tilman Fertitta (Photo via Houston Chronicle)

Leslie Alexander shocked many when he announced that he would be selling the Houston Rockets after over 20 years of ownership. The long-time owner saw two NBA titles in the 90’s and a plethora of stars come through his franchise including Hakeem Olajuwon, Tracy McGrady, Steve Francis, Yao Ming, Dwight Howard and most recently Chris Paul and the newly re-signed franchise star, James Harden.

With the prices for NBA teams being evaluated at well over a billion dollars and Steve Ballmer setting a precedent of team purchases at $2 billion when he bought the Clippers, it’s hard to see why Alexander wouldn’t want to flip his asset.

In 1993, Alexander bought the team for $85 million and now he is set to sell the franchise for an estimated $2.2 billion.

Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston first reported the news and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle has the reported staggering sale amount.

Tilman Fertitta is best known as the chairman, CEO, and sole owner of Landry’s, Inc., one of the nation’s largest restaurant corporations. Rainforest Cafe, Bubba Grump Shrimp company and Morton’s Steakhouse all have ties to Landry’s, Inc. He also was involved with professional sports as a limited partner with the Rockets and the Houston Texans. Forbes estimates his net worth at $3.1 billion.

It’s unclear if he will bring on big name investors like Dikembe Mutombo, Hakeem Olajuwon and Beyonce who all have expressed interest in buying a stake in the team. The NBA’s Board of Governors will have to approve Fertitta as the next owner of the Rockets franchise.

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