Houston sent shock-waves throughout the NBA Monday afternoon when Rockets CEO Tad Brown made the announcement that Leslie Alexander has decided to sell the team after 24 years of ownership.
Alexander’s tenure as owner began July 30, 1993. The Rockets then won two consecutive NBA Championship titles in 1993-94 and 1994-95. In the past 24 years the team has laid claim to the “fifth-highest winning percentage (.569)” as well as the “second-most winning seasons of any team” in the league.
In a team statement Alexander explained, “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. 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 remains one of the city’s most beloved team owners due to years of unwavering commitment to the local community.
Via Houston Rockets
In 1995, Alexander established the Clutch City Foundation with the goal of providing help, hope and inspiration to those who might otherwise be forgotten. The Clutch City Foundation funds and operates comprehensive programs benefiting thousands of children each year, as well as serving as the umbrella organization for all Rockets community initiatives.
Throughout his years as owner, Alexander and the Clutch City Foundation contributed more than $35 million to hundreds of charities throughout Houston. Most recently in March of 2017, Alexander pledged $4 million to a group of 20 local charitable organizations. In April of 2016, he donated $500,000 to Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Greater Houston Storm Relief Fund after the city was ravaged by severe rain resulting in flooding.
Alexander and the Rockets organization have garnered numerous community service awards, including the Pro Team Community Award in 1997, given by the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame.
In 1998, Alexander and the Rockets organization were awarded Leadership Houston’s “Leadership in Action” Award for outstanding community service to education, one year after winning the same award for outstanding community service to youth.
Alexander and the Rockets were also honored with the 2005 Texas Association of Partners in Education “Outstanding Business Partnership” award in the Houston Independent School District (HISD). The Clutch City Foundation was also inducted into the HISD Partners Hall of Fame for understanding the value of education, as well as an active commitment to enhancing the educational experiences of HISD students.
In October of 2016, Alexander and the Rockets were recognized by the Anti-Defamation League Southwest Region as being a “Community Champion” for his decades of charitable giving and leadership.
Brown assured the media that Alexander’s decision was not out of concern for his health, it was more so his interest in “changing the fabric of his life and pursuing other passions.” He also explained that it was important for them to make the announcement to the NBA and the community at large to bypass misinformation being spread so that there would be no distractions as the new season is approaching fast. A successful season is still the top priority and considering that a solid management team remains in place, there is no rush to fill the position. The management team made their intentions of ensuring a winning season clear with the most recent acquisition of Chris Paul who was welcomed formally by the city of Houston this past Friday.
What a unique opportunity for any potential buyer who would end up acquiring a franchise that is in great shape in the incredible market of Houston. Alexander bought the team in 1993 for $85 million and it is now worth a few billion. It was also mentioned that over the years there have been plenty of interested buyers. Now that the team is finally on the market, Brown said that some of the attributes they are looking for in a potential buyer would be someone who shared the same core beliefs and values, helps out and serves the community, and of course has a desire to win.