Deal Of A Lifetime: Brothers Dunk Huge NBA Dollars Without Team

Source: Bil Briggs / NBC News

Two eternal words ─ “in perpetuity” ─ are fueling hushed negotiations and a court battle between two basketball-loving brothers and the NBA, which is seeking to escape a decades-old pact called “the best sports-business deal ever” that has netted the brothers hundreds of millions of dollars over the years.

Each year, the National Basketball Association has been contractually obligated to pay, for a lifetime, a cut of its ever-sweeter TV profits to Daniel and Ozzie Silna, two men with no team, no player salaries to meet, no arena rent to pay.

This season, the Silnas would collect a reported $19 million ─ pushing their total NBA TV take to about $300 million ─ under a bargain they hashed with league honchos in heat and haste, before “Magic” and Michael, and before anyone realized the global value of pro basketball.

Not surprisingly, the NBA wants to end the endless deal. On Jan. 7, the league announced a “conditional agreement” with the brothers that would, if finalized, settle a federal lawsuit in which the Silnas sought even more: a slice of NBA TV ─ the league’s cable channel ─ and a piece of the league’s foreign broadcast profits. But the pending agreement says the Silnas still will reap some chunk of the NBA’s annual TV money. The league has not revealed how much, and nobody from either side is talking publicly.

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