Leslie Alexander (businessman)

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Leslie Alexander
Leslie L. Alexander

1944 (age 73–74)
ResidenceDelray Beach, Florida
Alma materB.A. New York University
J.D. Thomas Jefferson School of Law
OccupationBusinessman & Investor. Attorney.
Known forFormer owner of the Houston Rockets
Net worthIncrease$2.1 billion (November 2018)[1]
Spouse(s)Nanci Shnapier Alexander (divorced)

Leslie L. Alexander (born 1944) is an American attorney, businessman and financier. He is a former bond trader from New Jersey. He formerly owned the National Basketball Association (NBA) team Houston Rockets for 24 years, from 1993 to 2017. [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]

In the July before the 1993-94 NBA season, Alexander bought the Houston Rockets for $85 million. The Rockets won the NBA championship the next two years: one in the '93-94 season and another in the '94-95 season.[9] In 2008, he was listed by Forbes magazine as the best owner in the NBA.[10]

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.[11]

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.[12]

On July 17, 2017, it was announced that the Rockets were for sale.[13] On September 5, 2017, he reached an agreement to sell the Rockets to fellow Texas businessman Tilman Fertitta, pending league approval, for a worldwide professional sports record of $2.2 billion.[14] Before his departure, Alexander gave the Rockets' General Manager, Daryl Morey, a new contract and extended player James Harden's contract with a record-breaking $228 million, 4-year deal that will last until the end of the 2022-23 NBA season.[2][15] He also retained the two Larry O'Brien Championship Trophies won by the team in 1993-94 and 1994-95 as memontos of his ownership, and the team commissioned replica trophy replacements for the team upon its sale.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Alexander divorced his wife Nanci (née Shnapier) in 2003, paying a $150 million settlement.[17] 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.[18] 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.[19] He purchased the duplex penthouse of 18 Gramercy Park in 2012, reportedly for $42 million.[20]

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.[21]

On March 27, 2017 Alexander pledged $10 million to 20 Houston charities, including the Houston Area Women's Center, Houston Public Library Foundation, Healthcare for the Homeless - Houston, and Citizens for Animal Protection.[22] He also pledged $10 million in relief efforts in wake of Hurricane Harvey, which ravaged the city in August 2017.[23]


  1. ^ https://www.forbes.com/profile/leslie-alexander/
  2. ^ a b Blinebury, Fran. "After 24 years, Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander selling team | NBA.com". NBA.com. Retrieved 2018-07-13.
  3. ^ Mendelsohn, Ezra Jews and the Sporting Life : Studies in Contemporary Jewry XXIII edited by Institute of Contemporary Jewry Hebrew University of Jerusalem p. 98
  4. ^ a b c d e Forbes: "The 400 Richest Americans - #322 Leslie Alexander September 21, 2006
  5. ^ a b Rockets: Leslie Alexander Biography
  6. ^ Leslie L. Alexander Archived 2011-08-19 at the Wayback Machine. (Houston Comets)
  7. ^ "Leslie Lee Alexander - #79581". State Bar of California. Retrieved June 27, 2011.
  8. ^ https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB122713829045342487
  9. ^ NBA.com (Feb 2, 2018). "Former Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander kept title trophies after selling team | NBA.com". Around the League. Retrieved 2018-07-13.
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ "Oilers Deal Collapses". Orlando Sentinel. November 5, 1997.
  12. ^ WNBA disbands women's pro basketball team in Houston | Reuters
  13. ^ [2]
  14. ^ "Source: Fertitta buys Rockets for record $2.2B". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2017-09-05.
  15. ^ "James Harden agrees to extension worth $228 million, NBA's richest". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2018-07-13.
  16. ^ Feigen, Jonathan (20 September 2018). "Rockets receive replicas of championship trophies". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  17. ^ Daily Mail: "Billionaire owner of Houston Rockets buys NYC's most expensive downtown Manhattan condo with outdoor INFINITY POOL and FOUR massive terraces for $42 million" September 13, 2013
  18. ^ "The 400 Richest Americans: #322 Leslie Alexander". Forbes.com. Retrieved March 30, 2011.
  19. ^ Real GM: "Follow The Money: Political Contributions Of NBA Owners" By Christopher Reina November 03, 2011
  20. ^ Velsey, Kim (October 22, 2012). "18 Gramercy Park Is Having the Best Fall Ever". The New York Observer. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
  21. ^ "Leslie Alexander". Forbes. Retrieved 2016-03-02.
  22. ^ "Rockets' Leslie Alexander names charities that will receive parts of $10 million donation". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  23. ^ "Rockets owner reportedly ups aid as help grows". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2017-11-09.