Leslie Alexander (businessman)
Leslie Lee Alexander
June 30, 1943
|Education||New York University (BS)|
Thomas Jefferson School of Law (JD)
|Known for||Former owner of the Houston Rockets|
|Spouse(s)||Nanci Shnapier Alexander (divorced)|
Leslie Lee Alexander (born June 30, 1943) 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.
He was born in 1943, to a Jewish family in New York City. In 1965, he graduated from New York University with a bachelor's degree in economics and later earned his juris doctor from the San Diego campus of Western State University College of Law, now known as Thomas Jefferson School of Law.
Alexander began his career as an attorney. From 1978 to 2009, he was a member of the California State Bar. His first job was trading options and bonds for the Wall Street firm, Lawrence Kotkin Associates. In 1980, he left to form his own investment company, The Alexander Group. He also owns an 18.5% stake in First Marblehead, a private student loan company.
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. In 2008, he was listed by Forbes magazine as the best owner in the NBA.
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.
Leslie Alexander launched a joint-venture with the Chinese businessman Kenneth Huang (founder of Sportscorp in China), which invests in many companies in Asia. In 2006, a group of investors led by Kenneth Huang bought a minority share in the Rockets from Leslie Alexander.
On July 17, 2017, it was announced that the Rockets were for sale. 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. 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. He also retained the two Larry O'Brien Championship Trophies won by the team in 1993-94 and 1994-95 as mementos of his ownership, and the team commissioned replica trophy replacements for the team upon its sale.
In March 2019, he put up for sale a $3.7 million French manor-style house in Houston.
Alexander divorced his wife Nanci (née Shnapier) in 2003, paying a $150 million settlement. They have one child and two grandchildren.
Alexander was raised Jewish, and now identifies as Agnostic. He is a vegetarian and an advocate of animal rights. He is a supporter of the Democratic Party and has donated $15,000 in the past 20 years to Democratic candidates. He purchased the duplex penthouse of 18 Gramercy Park in 2012, reportedly for $42 million.
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.
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. He also pledged $10 million in relief efforts in wake of Hurricane Harvey, which ravaged the city in August 2017.
Alexander is also a supporter of the Hampton Bays center which aims to rescue animals. In 1998, his ex-wife and himself were recognized the largest individual donors to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
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