LeBron James could have competition from Shaquille O’Neal to own NBA expansion team in Las Vegas

Jason Simpson
4 Min Read

LeBron James has repeatedly expressed interest in owning a potential NBA expansion team in Las Vegas, but it sounds like he may have some competition from another Los Angeles Lakers icon.

Shaquille O’Neal recently spoke about the idea of an NBA team coming to Vegas, and he made it clear that if the city were awarded a franchise, he’d want to own it without partnering up with anybody.

“I would like to have my own group,” O’Neal told The Messenger. “I know Vegas hasn’t been awarded an NBA team yet but if they ever get to a point where they are awarded a team, I would like to be a part of that. I don’t want to partner up with nobody. I want it all for myself.”

James and O’Neal are both prime examples of NBA players who were able to turn on-the-court success into endless wealth through other ventures.

James has a net worth that makes him a billionaire, and O’Neal is worth hundreds of millions himself. If the two Lakers greats end up competing for a franchise in Las Vegas, it will be fascinating to see who has the upper hand. O’Neal’s ties to Vegas may help him make up for the gap in wealth.

“I’ve been living in Las Vegas for over 20 years,” O’Neal told The Messenger. “I love it here. Las Vegas has always been a city you knew was going to grow. You could see different casinos, different real estate projects and different night clubs popping up. I’ve always been a part of it. I used to own one of the hottest night clubs, sold it and now I got 9-10 restaurants here. I’m doing very, very well and I want to continue to grow with Vegas.”

It’s worth noting that James can’t own an NBA franchise until he retires from the league. The future Hall of Famer considered retirement this offseason, but he’s back for more with the 2023-24 campaign approaching.

If he wants a chance at playing with his son Bronny in the NBA, he’s going to need to stay in the league for at least two more seasons (including the upcoming one).

According to Adam Silver, the NBA will begin exploring expansion in 2025. That could be a convenient time for the elder James if he makes the 2024-25 season his final run in the NBA.

In the meantime, both O’Neal and the elder James are preparing for the upcoming campaign. O’Neal will cover the season on “Inside the NBA,” and the elder James will look to lead the Lakers back to title contention after they reached the Western Conference Finals last season.

The Vegas storyline will undoubtedly continue to pop up as the NBA prepares for the future, but for now, the league’s 30 teams can only focus on what’s known for sure.

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Jason is excited about the LeBron James era of Lakers basketball and hopes that the end result will be multiple championships.