NBA: Nike founder Phil Knight makes US$2 billion offer for Portland Trail Blazers

Phil Knight stepped down as chairman and chief executive of sports apparel giant Nike in 2015. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Nike co-founder Phil Knight and Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Alan Smolinisky have made a written offer to buy the National Basketball Association's Portland Trail Blazers for more than US$2 billion (S$2.74 billion), ESPN reported on Thursday (June 2).

Citing unnamed sources, ESPN reported Knight and Smolinisky had been engaged in discussions with the Paul G. Allen Trust, which is overseeing the franchise, and the plan is for those talks to continue.

Allen, the Microsoft co-founder who purchased the Trail Blazers in 1988, died in October 2018.

His sister, Jody, has managed the trust since Allen's death and it has been reported that the sale of both the Trail Blazers and the National Football League's Seattle Seahawks - also owned by the Allen estate - are part of an eventual plan for the trust.

Although the state of Portland is considered a smaller media market for an NBA team, the Blazers enjoy strong fan support.

In 2021, Forbes valued the franchise at US$2.05 billion.

Another small-market team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, sold in 2021 for US$1.5 billion a deal that included the Women's NBA's Minnesota Lynx.

The 84-year-old Knight, who has a reported net worth of more than US$50 billion, was born in Portland and graduated from the University of Oregon.

He stepped down as chairman and chief executive of sports apparel giant Nike in 2015 after 52 years at the helm.

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