Leslie Lee Alexander (born 1944) is an American businessman and financier. He is a former bond trader from New Jersey who owns the National Basketball Association (NBA) team Houston Rockets.
Alexander was raised in a Jewish family In New Jersey. In 1965, Alexander graduated from New York University with a bachelor's degree in economics and later earned his juris doctor from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law. From 1978 to 2009, Alexander was a member of the California State Bar. He started his career trading options and bonds for the Wall Street firm, Lawrence Kotkin Associates. In 1980, he left to form his own investment company, The Alexander Group. He also owns a 20% stake in First Marblehead, a private student loan company.
Sports team ownership:
Alexander bought the Rockets in July 1993. In his first season as owner, the Rockets won their first-ever NBA title. They repeated as champs in 1995. A new arena, the Toyota Center, was opened in 2003. He was named the best owner in the NBA by Forbes in 2008. He also owns a vineyard on Long Island and the related company Leslie Wine, launched in 2008. He also has a residence in Houston.
In 1998, Alexander attempted to purchase and relocate the National Hockey League's Edmonton Oilers franchise, but a grassroots bid by local businessmen successfully prevented the sale.
From 1997 until early 2007, Alexander was the owner of the WNBA's Houston Comets. The Comets won the league's first 4 WNBA championships from 1997 to 2000. He sold the team to Hilton Koch in January 2007. The Comets folded a year later.
In 2003, he divorced his wife Nanci (née Shnapier) paying a $150 million settlement; they have one child and one grandchild. Alexander was raised Jewish, but now identifies as Agnostic.
Alexander is a vegetarian and an advocate of animal rights. He is a supporter of the Democratic Party and has donated $15,000 in the past 20 years to Democratic candidates.
In 2006, it was revealed that Alexander was amongst the 400 richest people in the USA, being valued at around $1.2 billion.