It is not an easy thing to become the most embarrassing owner in American sports, as the pool of viable candidates boasts a higher concentration of destructive, goop-brained oligarchs than can be found anywhere outside of a Davos conference. That Tilman Fertitta, who has only owned the Houston Rockets since 2017, is already making a play for that dubious honor is in itself an achievement in rich-guy mediocrity that we may never see the likes of again.
Fertitta, who paid $2.2 billion for the Rockets in a heavily leveraged deal that involved selling over $1 billion in bonds and assuming all sorts of debt, has managed to do precisely nothing for the franchise other than cheapen it in his quest to avoid paying the luxury tax. His non-sports business interests are mostly in the casino and restaurant industry, where his general distaste for running things in a way that might benefit anyone other than himself manifests itself in ways that are much more vicious and destructive than trading away James Harden for a bunch of useless draft picks. In the real world, that sour self-absorption leads to Fertitta doing things like going on TV to complain about the worthlessness of lazy Americans who don’t want to work for awful wages:
In a just society, or just a world where people came together in good faith with the intention of designing a fair and equitable way of living, a guy who brags about his company’s average wage being $14 per hour, and then sneers at anyone who isn’t leaping at the jobs he’s offering, would be immediately exiled to an island somewhere. Just something to think about!