Growing up in the Midwest I wasn’t familiar with many of the NBA Western Conference teams. And the name “Golden State” used to confuse the heck out of me. Come on you’ve got to give me a pass – I was little. Well just in case any readers out there are still unfamiliar with the Warriors let me give you a quick rundown.
The Warriors Called Philly their home for 16 years before moving out West prior to the 1962-63 season. In 1962 Warriors legend Wilt Chamberlain poured in an NBA record 100 points, a mark that has never been close to being approached in the 47 years it has stood. Before the start of the 1971-72 season the Warriors moved across the bay to Oakland and officially became the Golden State Warriors. There are currently 17 members of the Warriors organization in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, including Chamberlain, Robert Parish, and Rick Barry who is known for his underhand free throws. The Warriors won two championships on the east and one championship on the west coast in 1974-75.
During the 80s and 90s the Warriors saw players come and go. The high scoring trio of point guard Tim Hardaway, guard Mitch Richmond, and forward Chris Mullin (collectively known as “Run-T.M.C.” after the rap group Run-D.M.C). Chris Webber of the Fab Five Fame and former Rookie of the Year. Latrell Sprewell and the chocking then head coach P.J. Carlisemo during a practice. The drafting of Todd Fuller. Fuller who? Just one of the twelve players chosen in the 1996 NBA draft over Kobe Bryant.
The 21st century ushered in more rebuilding and finally a 2007 playoff berth. Subsequent seasons have showed bright spots with the drafting of Stephen Curry who almost lead his mid-major squad to NCAA Final Four.
On another piece of history, today the Golden State Warriors were sold for $450 million, a record price for an NBA franchise. This breaks the previous record of $401 Million paid for the Phoenix Suns in 2004.
What’s interesting about this deal is that the perceived front-runner, Larry Ellison, CEO and Co-Founder of Oracle, did not secure the winning bid. Ellison has publicly stated that he offered a higher bid than the new owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber. It’s being reported that the difference in bids might have been around $50 million which if that is the case it’s somewhere right around 0.02% of his total wealth. Yes, Ellison is a billionaire and is the sixth richest man in the world.
So what happened?
Well what we do know is that Joe Lacob is no stranger to the NBA. He’s a minority owner of the Boston Celtics, which he will have to sell in order to take a full interest in the Warriors. He’s also a managing Partner with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the world’s leading venture capital firm. Lacob is also an active investing partner in KPCB’s Internet company initiative; he led the firm’s investment in AutoTrader.com and Sportsline.
Peter Guber is also a player in the sports and entertainment world. As a producer, among the many films he brought to the screen are Rain Man, Batman, Flashdance, The Color Purple and Midnight Express. He is the owner of Mandalay Sports Entertainment which has become a national sports entertainment provider, owning and/or managing professional baseball franchises, sports marketing and venue management.
Sal Galatioto, President of Galatioto Sports Partners and wizard of sports asset purchase agreements, said that Ellison offered a “marginally higher offer” just hours before the signing. “He was way past the deadline,” Galatioto said. “There was no way I was going to recommend that bid to Chris [Cohan]… Once the shot clock expires, are you allowed to get back on the court and have it count? I don’t think so.”
Even though I’m sure Galatioto knew that Ellison could put his money where his mouth is and follow through with his bid. It’s sounds as though Galatioto didn’t want to jeopardize the existing agreement that was worked out and on the table. You just don’t bid on a professional sports franchise the way you bid on an ebay auction. Even though the rejected bid was higher, it sounds as though it was still too risky to walk away from the ironed out agreement.
Either way without the extra cash Cohan, who purchased the team in 1994 for $119 million, is still making a profit on this deal. Considering the unstable economy, the fact that two NBA franchises recently sold in the $200 million range, and that Forbes has valued the Warriors franchise at $315 million Cohan made out alright.
And Warrior fans are still wondering when their team will be alright…Warriors PLEASE come out to play-yay.
Good Night Sports Fans,