Micky Arison Rumors
Heat officials learned of the story via news reports, and were dumbfounded that the league would not have first spoken, at least as a courtesy, to the one franchise actually affected by any NBA/Cuba relationship. Heat owner Micky Arison and club president Pat Riley declined a Miami Herald interview request Wednesday, but another team executive told us, “The NBA never consulted with us. This was undertaken unilaterally. The minute we found out we registered our vehement objection to the league office. Neither the Heat nor any personnel will be participating.”
Cruise stock prices spiked upward when Obama announced his thawing policy toward Cuba. People like Arison immediately imagined their majestic ships flowing lucratively in and out of Cuban ports, ferrying monied tourists eager to explore the exotic island so near yet so off-limits for so long. That could be another delicate spot for Arison, the idea that increasingly normalized relations with Cuba could be very good for Carnival and his already enormous bank account – but could also lead many Heat fans to angrily consider those profits to be Castro-dirty.
And now the franchise deals with an NBA/Cuba situation a different Heat source said “seems political.” Longtime former NBA commissioner David Stern was extremely active in Democratic politics and a major financial contributor throughout his years in office. New commissioner Adam Silver also was an ardent early supporter of Obama and has donated to the party — the political leanings at the highest level of the NBA perhaps suggesting a climate that would lead to a goodwill tour as a show of support for Obama’s new policy of thawing relations with Cuba. The four-day event could be a precursor to further league involvement with Cuba, such as exhibition games scheduled there.
Heat owner Mickey Arison was walking around shmoozing with the crowd, so I asked him what he thought of Battier’s karaoke. He was hesitant to answer questions until I assured him they would not be basketball related. Then he spoke enthusiastically. “I always like when Shane sings the Love Boat theme,” he said. “It always makes me happy.” He added, “I love Motown and I love the Beatles.” I asked Arison if who he would like to have perform at half time of a Heat game, if he could pick anyone. He told me: “I wish we could bring John Lennon back from the dead.”
Other majority team owners who made this top 400 richest included Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov (No. 125, $9.9 billion), Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich (No. 137, $9.1 billion), Miami Heat owner Micky Arison (No. 191, $7.1 billion), Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross (No. 216, $6.5 billion), St. Louis Rams, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche and Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke (No. 225, $6.3 billion), Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos (No. 259, $5.7 billion), Detroit Tigers and Red Wings owner Michael Ilitch (No. 330, $4.8 billion), Jacksonville Jaguars and Fulham FC owner Shahid Khan (No. 330, $4.8 billion), Washington Nationals owner Ted Lerner (No. 330, $4.8 billion), the New York Knicks and Rangers owners, the Dolans (No. 381, $4.3 billion), New England Patriots and Revolution owner Robert Kraft (No. 381, $4.3 billion) and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones ($4.2 billion).