All jesting and Carlton-ing aside, any minority ownership (even a small piece, as it seems Mr. Smith has) in the four major sports leagues is a good thing to have. There are 30 NHL teams, 30 MLB teams, 30 NBA teams and 32 NFL teams. That’s 122 professional franchises spread out over fifty states and two countries…and there are exactly two minority owners – Michael Jordan of the Bobcats and Arturo Moreno of the Angels. That’s the bad news. Two out of 122 is still far too small of a representation for something that demands such a huge chunk of the American population’s mindset each year.
What’s the good news? Well, for starters, the two minority owners are some of the more high-profile figures in their individual leagues. Moreno won’t show up in any gossip pages or make any Mark Cuban-esque headlines, but since taking control of the Angels in 2003, his franchise has ranked as among the most news-worthy in baseball. His Angels are one of the most valuable teams in baseball and have wrenched control of the Los Angeles market away from the scandal-ridden Los Angeles Dodgers, and are always in the mix for talented off-season free agents. Michael Jordan, is, of course, Michael Jordan – even though his Bobcats have been a perennial disappointment. The two of them provide to valuable role models for future minority owners.
We should strive to see more minority owners in the major sports leagues over the next decades, and the involvement of people like Jay-Z (with the Nets) and Smith with the 76ers is an excellent start; seeing their faces in the owners’ boxes will only prompt more minority interest in ownership. Hey, maybe we can get Uncle Phil interested in owning the Raptors.