Apr 24, 2023 - Sports

How Josh Harris might lead the Commanders

Josh Harris is standing and clapping courtside on the sidelines in between seated fans at a packed 76ers game.

Josh Harris courtside at the 76ers. Photo: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Private equity billionaire Josh Harris is a prolific sports team owner, giving us hints at how he might lead the Commanders.

  • The 58-year-old who grew up in Chevy Chase, Maryland, owns the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils through the Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment group.

Driving the news: Harris and a group that includes local billionaire Mitchell Rales and Magic Johnson have agreed to a deal with Dan Snyder to buy the Commanders.

What we’re watching: Another “Process”? The Commanders might need to swallow a tough pill to get back to form. That’s what the 76ers did when Harris approved then-GM Sam Hinkie’s painful and long rebuilding plan known as “The Process.”

  • It was a “complete teardown strategy” that saw the Sixers go 47-199 over three seasons, The Athletic reports.
  • It paid dividends when the team drafted superstar Joel Embiid as the third overall pick in 2014.
  • They are in the playoffs for a sixth straight season, although they’ve been unable to get past the second round.

Another ticket price cut? At the Sixers, Harris slashed ticket prices and attendance jumped 15%, the Washington Post reported.

Between the lines: Harris doesn’t appear to be a micromanager. “The best way to describe Harris is that he’s typically involved but not making personnel moves,” The Athletic writes.

  • Harris lives in New York City and regularly attends Sixers games.
  • “We have a whole process around where the people that actually directly report to me kind of talk about what they’re trying to accomplish and how they’re trying to accomplish it, and then you just go back through all that,” he said in 2019.

Flashback: When growing up in the Washington area, Harris’ father Jacob had season tickets to the Washington Bullets.

  • Harris attended The Field School in Northwest, and from a young age was athletic (started wrestling at the Bethesda Boys Club in seventh grade) and entrepreneurial (sold comic books), the Post reports.

Zoom in: Harris also owns a stake in English Premier League club Crystal Palace and has a minority stake in the Pittsburgh Steelers, which he would need to sell if he bought the Commanders.

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