NBA Commissioner Adam Silver dismissed the possibility of sovereign wealth funds becoming the controlling owners of a franchise on Monday weeks after the Qatar Investment Authority reportedly bought a roughly 5% stake in Monumental Sports & Entertainment – the owner of the Washington Wizards.
Silver spoke at The Associated Press Sports Editors convention in Las Vegas as the NBA Summer League was in full swing in Sin City.
"I don't want to say what could ever happen, but there's no contemplation right now," Silver said, via ESPN. "I mean, it's very important to us, putting aside sovereign wealth funds that individuals are in a position to control our teams, be responsible to the fans, be responsible to their partners and to the players.
"It's very important to us that there be a person [in charge], and this is independent of sovereign wealth funds. I think that in terms of the connection with the community, the connection with the players and their other partners in the league."
Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund’s purchase into Monumental Sports & Entertainment deal came last month, according to multiple reports. It is believed to be the first time the government of Qatar is investing in U.S. professional sports.
The deal also came on the heels of the landmark agreement between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf – the Saudi-backed golf series – to merge. Though, no deal has officially been in place.
NBA spokesperson Mike Bass and the league Board of Governors decided in November to allow "passive, non-controlling, minority investments in NBA teams by institutional investors, including university endowments, foreign and domestic pension funds and sovereign wealth funds, subject to a set of policy guidelines adopted at that time." All investments fitting the bill require league review and NBA Board approval.
"The NBA Board is currently reviewing a potential investment by QIA in Monumental Sports & Entertainment, the parent company of the Washington Wizards, among other sports properties," Bass said at the time. "In accordance with the policy, if approved, QIA would have a passive, minority investment in the team, with no involvement in its operations or decision-making."
Monumental Sports & Entertainment also owns the NHL’s Washington Capitals and the WNBA’s Washington Mystics.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.