Tech billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes becomes the first Australian to own an NBA team and buy a minority stake in Utah Jazz

Cannon-Brookes’s investment in the US basketball team, allegedly hundreds of millions, adds co-founder and co-executive director of software company Atlassian to the exclusive list of tech entrepreneurs who own NBA teams

These include former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (who owns the Los Angeles Clippers) and billionaire Mark Cuban (who owns the Dallas Mavericks)

The opportunity to get into Utah Jazz came from a deal between the Miller family, who have owned the team for 35 years, and founder of US tech company Qualtrics, Ryan Smith

Under the terms of the agreement, Mr. Smith will be the representative owner of the team, with minority shareholders Mr. Cannon-Brookes and Ryan Sweeney, partners in US venture capital company Accel

Qualtrics makes software for rapid data acquisition and analysis, while Atlassian makes software that enables IT departments and computer programmers to collaborate online. Accel was an early investor in both software companies

Mr. Smith and Mr. Cannon-Brookes, both lifelong basketball fans, told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald that even the COVID pandemic wouldn’t get in the way of the deal

“The hardest part about the process was that everything was on zoom so you miss out on a little of that excitement for a deal like this, being on the ground and interacting with everyone is important, but I am confident that it will the planes are going to open and we’ll find out in the next year or two, ”said Cannon-Brookes

“I’ve been trying [to buy the Utah Jazz] one owner for 35 years, I thought this thing would never leave the family,” said Mr Smith

Mr. Cannon-Brookes added that the deal highlighted a change of guard in the NBA as a new generation of entrepreneurs took over the reins of a generation that came before them

“The NBA is very technology-oriented and has a long history of entrepreneurs It was only in the last decade that the most important transactions have been carried out by tech entrepreneurs, which is a reflection of the way the league is going, ”he said

Aside from their shared passion for the sport, Mr. Cannon-Brookes and Mr. Smith delve deep into the broader challenges society faces – from climate change to eliminating systemic social and racial inequalities

Both tech billionaires said their responsibilities as owners go well beyond the day-to-day running of the team. “Our role is longer term, it’s about how the organization will be in a decade, it’s about things like culture and values of the organization, “said Cannon-Brookes

“The NBA is the perfect thing to bring people together right now It is the largest platform to bring about change in the world There is no greater responsibility than this, ”added Smith,

“I run a much bigger business [than jazz] and so does Mike We understand that we need to use this platform to do good ”

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Technology and business journalist with digital experience
Stays at Business Spectator, The Australian
Better than your average cook, pretty handy with knives and guitar

Mike Cannon-Brookes

World News – AU – Hoop dreams come true when Cannon-Brookes acquires a stake in the NBA team