Shaquille O’Neal, the legendary basketball player and Hall-of-Famer, has expressed his desire to be involved with a potential NBA team in Las Vegas. While LeBron James has often been linked to the rumored expansion team in Sin City, O’Neal wants to make it clear that he wants to be a part of it, whether or not LeBron is involved.
Shaquille O’Neal Eyes Involvement with Possible Las Vegas NBA Team, Open to Collaboration with or without LeBron James
During a charity event in Las Vegas, O’Neal revealed his aspirations to run an NBA team on his own terms. “I would like to have my own group,” he said. “I know Vegas hasn’t been awarded an NBA team yet, but if they ever get to a point where they are awarded a team, I would like to be a part of that. I don’t want to partner up with nobody. I want it all for myself.“
However, O’Neal seemed to adjust his stance slightly when he later stated, “If there’s ever an NBA team that’s going to come here, I would definitely like to be involved. With LeBron, without LeBron, I just want to be involved.” This statement suggests that O’Neal is open to the idea of working alongside LeBron James in the ownership of a Las Vegas team.
LeBron James has been vocal about his interest in a potential Las Vegas team since playing a preseason game there in 2022. Speculation has surrounded the possibility of James collaborating with the Fenway Sports Group, with which he previously partnered to acquire a stake in the British soccer team Liverpool.
O’Neal and James have a history together as former teammates on the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2009-10 season. While O’Neal retired from playing, he went on to become a minority owner of the Sacramento Kings from 2013 to 2022. Currently, O’Neal works as a broadcaster on TNT’s Inside the NBA, while James continues to play for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Although O’Neal’s role with the Kings did not involve front office responsibilities, it is presumed that James would want a significant say in the basketball operations of any team he purchases, potentially even assuming a governorship position. At present, no player holds majority ownership or governorship of an NBA franchise following Michael Jordan’s sale of the Charlotte Hornets. However, several former players, such as Dwyane Wade and Grant Hill, own minority stakes in teams, indicating that multiple former players could own minority stakes in a single team.
As of now, the NBA’s primary focus is on finalizing a new national media rights deal. Once this deal is completed, the conversation around expansion is expected to gain momentum, with Las Vegas and Seattle emerging as the most likely markets to receive teams. While O’Neal and James both express interest in joining ownership groups, it is too early to determine who will ultimately control any new teams that may arise in the future.