(JTA) — Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is reportedly selling a majority stake in his NBA franchise to casino magnate and Jewish philanthropist Miriam Adelson.
Cuban, the Jewish billionaire known for entrepreneurial endeavors including his starring role on ABC’s reality show “Shark Tank,” is selling a stake valued at $3.5 billion to Adelson, the widow of longtime Jewish megadonor Sheldon Adelson.
The deal was first reported by NBA reporter Marc Stein.
The deal represents something of a partnership for Cuban and Adelson, whose daughter is on the Israeli version of “Shark Tank,” according to Sports Illustrated. Cuban will retain control over the team’s basketball operations, while Adelson is expected to bring her casino know-how to Dallas, where some lawmakers are seeking to legalize recreational gambling.
The deal means Adelson, 78, will no longer hold a majority of shares in The Sands, the casino business that has generated most of her family’s wealth and allowed her to donate prolifically to Jewish and pro-Israel causes. Earlier on Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that she was selling $2 billion in stock in order to “acquire a majority stake in a professional sports team.” Adelson’s net worth is estimated at over $30 billion, making her the richest Israeli in the world.
Cuban, 65, purchased the Mavericks in 2000 for $285 million. The team is the seventh-most valuable NBA franchise, according to Forbes, which also estimates Cuban’s net worth at $6.2 billion. Cuban also announced Tuesday that he would be leaving “Shark Tank” next year.
Both Cuban and Adelson have been involved in Jewish causes, Adelson heavily so.
Cuban, whose paternal grandparents had their last name changed from Chabenisky after emigrating from Russia, has said he encountered antisemitism growing up. Cuban is one of the most outspoken owners in all of professional sports on a variety of political issues — including antisemitism.
The Adelson Family Foundation has been a prolific giver to Jewish organizations, most notably Birthright Israel. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson have also been known for their support of Republican politicians, including Donald Trump. Miriam Adelson scaled back her philanthropy during the pandemic when The Sands was not delivering dividends for its shareholders.
The Mavericks do not have any Jewish players, but one of the team’s stars is Kyrie Irving, the All-Star guard who caused controversy last year after he promoted an antisemitic film online and initially refused to apologize. Irving was traded to Dallas in the midst of the scandal.
“If there was just some dude on the street corner saying what Kyrie said, or Kanye said, you’d just assume they’re crazy and keep on walking, right?” Cuban said at the time, referencing the rapper Kanye West’s months-long antisemitism scandal. “But when they’re a celebrity, you can’t do that, because you have a platform.”
The Mavericks are the third NBA team to be bought by a Jewish billionaire in the past year, following Mat Ishbia’s purchase of the Phoenix Suns (and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury) and Gabe Plotkin’s acquisition of the Charlotte Hornets.