Back in March 2016, Floyd Mayweather revealed that he wanted to quit betting on sports so that he could own an NBA team. During a press conference that was held prior to the Adrien Broner/Ashley Theophane fight that he helped promote, Mayweather said that he had his sights set squarely on becoming an NBA owner sooner than later.
"You guys know I like to bet on sports," he said, "but I’m looking forward to stepping back from betting on sports now. I’m looking forward to probably getting into ownership of an NBA team."
Since then, it doesn’t seem as though Mayweather has done much to realize his dream of owning an NBA team. He has shown up at plenty of NBA games throughout the country during the 2016-17 NBA season, but as recently as Tuesday, he provided evidence to show that he’s still gambling on games. His good friend Isaiah Thomas helped him pocket a lapful of $100 bills by dropping 53 games during Game 2 of the Celtics’ playoff series against the Wizards:
But Mayweather may actually be getting closer to putting in his final NBA bet. Early Thursday, he took to Facebook to reveal that he had a meeting with Magic Johnson. It sounds like that meeting was all business, and it may have revolved around Mayweather’s ongoing desire to own an NBA team. In his Facebook post, Mayweather went as far as to suggest that he wants any NBA owner looking to sell to contact him as soon as possible to get the ball rolling on a possible deal.
There are a few problems with this. One is that there aren’t many, er, make that any NBA teams looking to sell right now. SB Nation published a feature in September 2016 on how the sales of NBA teams have slowed dramatically in recent years. According to their report, 18 NBA teams have been sold since the year 2000, and there were a handful of teams sold in 2010 and 2011 alone, including the Pistons, 76ers, and Wizards. But as of right now, there are no NBA teams on the market, and it’s not hard to see why. The values of NBA teams have skyrocketed in recent seasons.
That brings us to Mayweather’s next problem: believe it or not, he’s not rich enough to own an NBA team outright. If you’ve watched or listened to a Mayweather interview over the course of the last year or two, then you know that he’s got plenty of money. He pocketed more than $200 million for the Manny Pacquiao fight in 2015 alone, and he will probably have the opportunity to make more than $100 million if he agrees to a fight with Conor McGregor. So he could lose every NBA bet he puts in between now and the end of LeBron James Jr.’s career and he would be just fine when it comes to money.
But Mayweather doesn’t have NBA owner money just yet. According to Forbes, his net worth as of December 2016 was about $340 million. And while that’s obviously not a small amount of money, it’s peanuts compared to most NBA owners. Forbes reports that about 20 NBA owners are billionaires, and even those owners that fall into the middle of pack as far as net worth is concerned—like Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, who has a net worth of about $3.9 billion—have 10 times as much money as Mayweather, if not more.
And that means that most of the NBA teams are simply too valuable for Mayweather to buy. According to the NBA team valuations that were released in February, teams like the Knicks ($3.3 billion), Lakers ($3 billion), and Warriors ($2.6 billion) would be out of the question for Mayweather, even if they were up for sale. So would middle-tier teams like the Magic ($920 million), Jazz ($910 million), and Nuggets ($890 million). And even the least valuable teams like the Hornets ($780 million), Timberwolves ($770 million), and Pelicans ($750 million) would be out of Mayweather’s price range.
So does that mean he can’t own an NBA team? Not necessarily. Derek Jeter is, like Mayweather, very rich, but when he decided he wanted to try and buy the Marlins recently, he quickly discovered that he couldn’t do it alone. So he became part of a larger team that planned to invest in the MLB franchise. Other celebrities have taken the same approach in the past and invested their money to own small slivers of teams. Some have done it to diversify their investment portfolios, while others have done it simply to say, "I own an NBA team!"
But we get the sense that Mayweather isn’t interested in owning a small stake in an NBA franchise. If you’ve followed his career at all—both inside the boxing ring where he has dominated opponents and outside of the boxing ring where he has made a series of savvy business moves that have allowed him to make $1 million every month without doing much at all—then you know that he’s all about bossing up. And unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like the current NBA market is going to allow him to do that.
Plus, the guy seems to love betting on sports too much to give it up for a small percentage of some team in middle America. So while we wouldn’t put it past him to find out a way to purchase an NBA team, we also wouldn’t be surprised if he said thanks but no thanks if an NBA owner actually took him up on the offer he made on Facebook.