HOUSTON-- Houston Rockets CEO Tad Brown announced Monday that Rockets franchise owner Leslie Alexander will be selling the team.
A former bond trader, attorney and financier from New Jersey, Alexander bought the Rockets in July 1993 for $85 million. Alexander currently holds the title as the longest owner in the Rockets franchise history.
“It’s been my great joy and honor to own the Houston Rockets for the past 24 years. I’ve had the incredible opportunity to witness true greatness through the players and coaches who have won championships for the city, been named to All-Star and All-NBA teams, enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame, and done so much for our franchise and our fans. And the Houston community has been home to me; I will continue to support the charities I have made commitments to throughout the years," said Alexander. "I’ll always have a special place in my heart for the fans, partners, city officials and employees who care so deeply for this team. I’ve made this decision after much deliberation with my family and friends, and do so knowing the franchise is in great shape with the players, coaches and management team in place. CEO Tad Brown will oversee the sales process with the league office, supported by my management team.”
Alexander assumed ownership of the Rockets on July 30, 1993 and the team went onto win back-to-back championships in 1993-94 and 1994-95. Over his 24 seasons as owner, the Rockets posted the fifth-highest winning percentage (.569) in the NBA. The Rockets also registered the second-most winning seasons of any team in the league over that span.
"Twenty four years is a long time. Here's a guy who's standard for excellence and accountability is extremely high. He's got the fifth best winning percentage in the NBA since he's owned the team. He's won multiple championships over the last decade and has the second most wins in the NBA," said Brown. "Those things can really weigh on you day after day and year after year. It's just come to that time."
Brown admitted that the announcement is a surprise, but will not affect the day to day runnings of the team.
"Les is always in it 100 percent when he is in it, so I was surprised at his decision but I know that he has other opportunities and passions that he wants to pursue," said Brown. "With the management team in place we are not rushed. We are looking to find a buyer who will keep the team in Houston but we have more than enough resources."
Brown told reporters that the team has a great fan base and players who are locked into long term contracts and the announcement was made to inform everyone, not to alarm them.
"The best thing we felt was to make the announcement to the city and the players and everyone else who is directly affected including stakeholders," Brown said.