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Nike founder puts in US$2bn bid to buy Portland Trail Blazers

1 min read
Nike founder puts in US$2bn bid to buy Portland Trail Blazers

Phil Knight wants to keep the NBA franchise in its hometown.

Nike’s founder Phil Knight has bid more than US$2 billion to buy the Portland Trail Blazers. Knight, the former chairman and chief executive of Nike who stepped down in 2016, has reportedly joined forces with Los Angeles Dodgers owner Alan Smolinisky to form an investment group which is trying to buy the team from the Paul Allen Trust.

The development has been confirmed by a Trail Blazers spokesperson, who confirmed the investment group’s bid but also clarified that “the team remains not for sale”.

The Trail Blazers were bought by former businessman Paul Allen in 1998 and are currently owned by the Paul Allen Trust, which is run by Paul’s sister Jody following his death in 2018. It has been long reported that the Trust is planning to sell the team, and Oregon-born Knight wants to keep the team in the region.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver spoke about the development, stating:

I don’t know all the specifics of Paul Allen’s trust. What I understand is that Jody Allen, who is Paul Allen’s sister, is the trustee of the estate and that at some point, the team will be sold.

I don’t have any sense of the precise timing. I read that same statement today in which she or someone on behalf of the estate said the team is not currently for sale. But at some point it will be for sale. This is a hugely complex estate, and although it’s been several years, these things take time.

It will work its way out, but I know Jody and her advisers are very focused on it. As to the timing, that is something her brother left in her hands.

The Portland Trail Blazers, who were valued at US$2.05 billion in 2021 by Forbes, have a long history of strong fan support from their Portland base and are currently listed as the thirteenth-most valuable team in the NBA. 

Knight, who is one of the richest people in the US, also hails from Portland and even went to the University of Oregon. If he and the investment group are successful in buying the Trail Blazers, it would be the third-largest franchise transaction in NBA history. Only the Houston Rockets’ $2.2 billion and Brooklyn Nets’ $3.2 billion would be above it.

The Trail Blazers, who, even though they have not won the NBA Championship since 1977, are regularly in the Playoffs and last won the Division title in 2018.

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