Michael Nassirian retired from Microsoft last year after 19 years of guiding key programs. Now he owns a franchise in the new North American Premier Basketball league. Courtesy of Julie Wright

Michael Nassirian retired from Microsoft last year after 19 years of guiding key programs. Now he owns a franchise in the new North American Premier Basketball league. Courtesy of Julie Wright

It’s Not the NBA, but Professional Basketball Is on Its Way

A former Microsoft exec has bought into a new league with former SuperSonic Freddie Brown as a supporter.

While the City of Seattle contemplates its next move in an attempt to score a professional basketball team, one Bellevue businessman is on a fastbreak to bring a pro team to the area by the beginning of 2019.

Former Microsoft executive Michael Nassirian was recently awarded a franchise in the new North American Premier Basketball league. The NAPB, which begins play in January, will feature eight teams in its inaugural season. It’s definitely not the NBA, but still, David Magley, the creator and president of the league, is excited about its future.

“The league has aggressive growth plans and expects to double in size by year two (2019),” Magley said in a press release.

Bellevue is the first of the cities committing to the league, which is scheduled to kickoff play in just 13 months.

A meeting a few months ago with Magley played a pivotal role in Nassirian’s decision to become a franchise team owner.

“The league president (Magley) came here,” Nassirian said. “We had lunch and got to know each other. We talked about not only the league, but we talked about the community and how bringing a sports team effects the community in many aspects. I’m so involved in the Bellevue community. Holistically, the community came around me and encouraged me to do that.”

Nassirian said former Seattle SuperSonics legend Freddie Brown also encouraged him to become an owner of a professional basketball franchise.

“A very close friend of mine Freddie Brown was one of the main factors for me choosing to do this, because I was on the fence for a long time. Freddie came to me and said, ‘Mike, do this and I’ll be behind you.’ Those words of encouragement was one of the main factors. This is a shoutout to Freddie,” Nassirian said with a smile.

He noted a decision hasn’t been made on what facility will house the team, but every option is still on the table.

“We want a venue that can support 3,000 to 3,500 spectators to bring in a very manageable audience. We are looking at every possible area. We want to choose something that will fit many in our audience where it’s easy to get to, it’s easy to park and it’s accessible,” Nassirian said. “We’re still looking.”

Nassirian is eagerly anticipating putting together his team.

“The excitement already has begun. There will be a lot of build up. There is no shortage of talent and there is no shortage of expertise. We have so many ex-NBA players living here. I have been socializing with them for the past few months. I’m so excited to get them involved. That by itself is so exciting for me,” Nassirian said. “For me, it’s like being a kid in a candy store. Being my first time (as owner of sports franchise), I really want to do it right and build a caliber of a team that is fitting the quality of Bellevue.”

news@seattleweekly.com

Shaun Scott is the sports report for Sound Publishing’s Eastside publications.

More in News & Comment

Seattle and King County Officials Want a Safe Injection Van

The mobile project—an alternative to permanent sites—still doesn’t have a defined timeline.

Western Washington Could See More Wildfires This Year

Lots of grass and warmer weather could make for worsening fire seasons.

An autopsy found that Tommy Le was shot twice in the back during an fatal encounter with a King County sheriff’s deputy. Photo courtesy Career Link
New Report Calls for Increased Transparency From King County Sheriff’s Office

The fatal shooting of Tommy Le served as a case study for researchers.

Charles Pillon sits inside one of the several buses on Iron Mountain. Photo by Caean Couto
The Last Days of Iron Mountain?

After battling King County government for decades, Charles Pillon may have finally lost the fight over his illegal 10-acre junkyard.

The public files into the City Council Chambers to voice their opinions prior to the vote to repeal the head tax. Photo by Melissa Hellmann
Head Tax Repealed By Seattle City Council

After pressure from big businesses, city leaders cave on their plan to fund homeless services.

A scene from the 2017 Women’s March Seattle. Photo by Richard Ha/Flickr
County Sexual Harassment Policies Could Be Overhauled

One King County councilmember says male-dominated departments have “workplace culture issues.”

The Firs Homeowners Association celebrate outside of the Maleng Regional Justice Center after a ruling that buys them more time in their homes on June 7, 2018. Photo by Melissa Hellmann
SeaTac Mobile Home Owners Granted Stay From Eviction

The ruling allows about 200 residents more time in their homes, as they attempt to acquire the property.

Most Read