This might come as shocking news, but not all NBA owners run their businesses well, make smart decisions, create a positive organizational culture, respect fans and win games. These five do. MORE: 5 worst owners
The Buss family
Jerry Buss (right), who died Feb. 18, may have been the most successful and influential owner in NBA history. As owner of the Lakers since 1979, he was all about entertainment and winning. He shelled out money for the likes of Magic, Kareem, Shaq and Kobe. He hired Pat Riley, Jerry West and Phil Jackson and kept meddling to a minimum. The result? Ten championships. But with his son, Jim (left), now in charge of the team, there are serious doubts about whether he can live up to his father's legacy.
Les Alexander, Houston Rockets
Haven't heard of him? That's OK. Alexander, who made a fortune on Wall Street, isn't a flamboyant owner, but he has run the Rockets with good business sense for two decades. Houston has won two championships and had only three losing seasons under Alexander, who was chosen the NBA's best owner by Forbes magazine in 2008. The franchise's value has skyrocketed under his guidance. Of course, having Yao Ming on his team helped a little bit.
Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks
Now that Cuban has learned to shut up and not let his mouth get in the way of a title, he's become an ideal owner. Not only is he willing and eager to spend money to win, he really, really cares about his team. That's why Dallas fans love him. His players, too. His passion for basketball and the Mavs is genuine and contagious. Any team would be lucky to have this dude in charge.
Micky Arison, Miami Heat
He might be a college dropout, but he's no dummy. A billionaire through his family business of Carnival cruises, Arison's best move was hiring Pat Riley and getting out of the way. Riley runs the organization and helped woo the Big Three into joining forces in South Beach.
Peter Holt, San Antonio Spurs
With four championships and 10 division titles since 1999, the Spurs should be held up as a model for all teams in small markets who don't believe they can compete. Yes, striking lottery gold with David Robinson and Tim Duncan was a nice bit of luck. But creating a classy, community-friendly, professional environment is one way to retain stars and lure quality role players. San Antonio's no-nonsense, low-drama culture is partly a product of Holt and the people he hired, like coach Gregg Popovich and general manager R.C. Buford. MORE: 5 worst owners