It’s long been known that the NBA has deep ties to China, namely through NBA China, valued at $5 billion. A new investigation shows that its owners’ ties to the country go far beyond the court.
The NBA’s 40 principal owners have over $10 billion in China-connected investments, according to an analysis by ESPN.
- Joseph Tsai, both the Brooklyn Nets owner and vice chair of Chinese retail giant Ali Baba, has 53.5% of his net worth in China. Tsai is Ali Baba’s second-largest shareholder, and has a net worth of $8.2 billion, per Forbes.
- Sacramento Kings co-owner Paul Jacobs has over 30% of his net worth tied to China, according to the investigation, through over $200 million in shares of Qualcomm.
- Memphis Grizzlies owner Robert Pera has around $369 million in exposure to China through his wireless device parts manufacturer Ubiquiti.
Miami Heat owner Micky Arison has over $375 million invested in China through a venture connected to his cruise line company Carnival Corp.
The tie-up entangles Carnival with a state-owned company, CSSC, that has military connections. CSSC has been tagged by the U.S. government as “acting contrary” to U.S. “national security or foreign policy interests.”
Tsai is often at the center of the NBA’s complicated relationship with China.
He reportedly tried to get Daryl Morey fired after Morey, the Houston Rockets general manager at the time, tweeted in support of Hong Kong protestors. Morey later had a suite he purchased at the Nets’ Barclays Center refunded.