Alibaba Group co-founder and executive vice chairman Joe Tsai, a Canadian-Taiwanese billionaire, has been unanimously approved by National Basketball Association owners as the new owner of the Brooklyn Nets.
Backing of the NBA’s board of governors was the final step to complete the deal, worth a reported US$3.5 billion, for Tsai to buy the club and its arena, the Barclays Center. Tsai had invested in the Nets in October 2017 when he purchased a 49 percent stake in the club from Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov for US$2.3 billion with an option to buy the rest of the franchise no later than 2021. Tsai exercised that option last month and will now oversee a revitalized club that made the first major offseason player deal this year by landing two-time NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant and star guard Kyrie Irving. “We are thrilled that Joe Tsai is becoming the principal owner and governor of the Brooklyn Nets,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “In addition to being a passionate basketball fan, Joe is one of China’s preeminent internet, media and e-commerce pioneers and his expertise will be invaluable in the league’s efforts to grow the game in China and other global markets.”