Update: After further reporting, we learned this was indeed a April Fool’s joke.
Will Smith is basking in a bit of hometown glory, and you know what? Who can blame him. It’s just been announced that the Academy-Award nominated actor along with his wife, Jada, have become majority owners of the Philadelphia 76ers.
According to reports, a press conference was held in which the Hollywood couple was introduced as the now majority owners of the beloved NBA team, replacing now minority-interest owner multi-billionaire Joshua Harris.
Harris, since October 2011, was a leading financier and long-time majority owner of the team. The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania graduate once led a group of investors in the purchase and with the exception of the Smith’s and Harris’ equity, no other structural changes were announced. The NBA Board of Governors unanimously approved the transfer of majority stake over to The Smiths. In a brief statement, Harris thanked the Hollywood power couple for leading the franchise into the future.
“My partners and I are thrilled to have an opportunity to be led by such a warm and wonderful Hollywood couple as Will and Jada, who are now majority owners of the Sixers. It is at this critical time that the team is at a perilous crossroads, and requires an ownership leader who is somewhat insulated from the constant tugs and pulls of the Philadelphia community as we navigate construction of a true championship caliber team.”
The Smiths responded in kind but also spoke passionately of the work that lay before them.
“It is an honor to become part of this storied franchise. We have a lot of work to do, but we have a rich history, a strong foundation and a bright future. We want to personally thank Joshua Harris for his strong leadership, for turning over an NBA franchise which is just now stepping through the door into a new and winning era, and for giving the city of Philadelphia a fairytale success story which will unfold before their very eyes. We are honored to continue this pursuit of excellence, not just for the championships that await this team, but for the wonderful city of Philadelphia – a city long overlooked for its contributions to professional sports.“
The team was originally purchased by Harris’ group for anywhere between $270 and $290 million, with a now estimated value of $700 million, the amount of money exchanged for the Smith’s to be majority owner is somewhere between $250 million.
Two hundred and fifty million dollars is no pocket change, and the Smiths reportedly coughed that up to have a majority stake in the 76ers. Gotta respect it.
Congrats to Will and Jada.