Is The NBA Ready For Arab Owners?

Detroit Pistons NBA Tayshaun Prince

Photo: AP Images

As chatter around the Pistons sale to Mike Ilitch has slowed, separate investment groups in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Qatar have swooped in to the discussion, according to the Abu Dhabi National.David Stern has confirmed the report.

Earlier this year the NBA welcomed its first foreign owner when Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov purchased the Nets and the league continues to look for ways to expand overseas.

The Detroit suburbs (like Dearborn) hold one of the world’s largest Arab populations outside the Middle East.

But given the outrage over Qatar’s snaking of the U.S. World Cup bid, American patriots may not be so keen to see their (red, white & blue) basketball teams raided by foreigners.

Parties interested in the Pistons would likely have to fork over $400 million. Forbes values the franchise at $479 million (fourth best in the league), but the struggles of the local economy probably mean it will be sold for less.

Ilitch, owner of the Detroit Red Wings and Little Caesar’s Pizza, was the early favourite to land the Pistons, and was granted a 30-day exclusive negotiation period with Karen Davidson, widow of Pistons owner Bill Davidson. That expired earlier this month.

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