Leslie Alexander (businessman)

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Leslie Alexander
Born Leslie L. Alexander
1944 (age 72–73)
New Jersey, U.S.
Residence Delray Beach, Florida
Nationality American
Alma mater B.A. New York University
J.D. Thomas Jefferson School of Law
Occupation Businessman & Investor. Attorney (ret).
Known for Owning the Houston Rockets
Net worth Increase$1.9 billion (December 2016)[1]
Spouse(s) Nanci Shnapier Alexander (divorced)
Children 1

Leslie L. Alexander (born 1944) is an American attorney, businessman and financier. He is a former bond trader from New Jersey who owns the National Basketball Association (NBA) team Houston Rockets.[2]

Early life[edit]

Leslie L. Alexander was born in 1944, to a Jewish family in New Jersey.[3][4] In 1965, he graduated from New York University with a bachelor's degree in economics and later earned his juris doctor from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law.[5][6]


Alexander began his career as an attorney. From 1978 to 2009, he was a member of the California State Bar.[7] His first job was trading options and bonds for the Wall Street firm, Lawrence Kotkin Associates.[4] In 1980, he left to form his own investment company, The Alexander Group.[4] He also owns an 18.5% stake in First Marblehead, a private student loan company.[8]

Sports team ownership[edit]

Alexander bought the Rockets in July 1993 for $85 million. In his first two seasons as owner (1993–94 and 1994–95), the Rockets won back to back World Championships anchored by Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon. The Rockets have the 2nd highest win percentage in the NBA across Alexander's reign as owner (#1 Spurs). In 2003, the Toyota Center was opened and the franchise almost instantly became twice as profitable.

In 2008, Alexander was listed by Forbes magazine as the best owner in the NBA.[9]

In 1998, Alexander attempted to purchase and relocate the National Hockey League's Edmonton Oilers franchise, but a grassroots bid by local businessmen successfully prevented the sale.[10]

From 1997 until early 2007, Alexander was the owner of the WNBA's Houston Comets. The Comets won the league's first 4 WNBA championships from 1997 to 2000. He sold the team to Hilton Koch in January 2007, one year before The Comets folded.[11]

Personal life[edit]

Alexander divorced his wife Nanci (née Shnapier) in 2003, paying a $150 million settlement.[12] They have one child and two grandchildren.[4]

He owns a vineyard on Long Island and the related company Leslie Wine, launched in 2008. He also has a residence in Houston.[5]

Alexander was raised Jewish, and now identifies as Agnostic.[13] He is a vegetarian and an advocate of animal rights.[4] He is a supporter of the Democratic Party and has donated $15,000 in the past 20 years to Democratic candidates.[14] He purchased the duplex penthouse of 18 Gramercy Park in 2012, reportedly for $42 million.[15]

Alexander's net worth is an estimated $1.54 billion as of Q1-2016, placing him at #401 on the list of richest people in the United States.[16]

On March 27, 2017 Alexander pledged $4 million to 20 Houston charities, including the Houston Area Women's Center, Houston Public Library Foundation, Healthcare for the Homeless, and Citizens for Animal Protection.