Owner & CEO, Golden State Warriors
Former Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers
In his role as Owner & CEO, Joe Lacob is the managing member of the Golden State Warriors’ ownership group. Currently in his eighth year as Warriors owner, he serves on the NBA Board of Governors and is a member of the league’s Competition Committee, Planning Committee and Labor Committee.
In 2014-15, Lacob’s fifth season as owner, the Warriors posted a then-franchise-record 67 wins during the regular season and captured the team’s first NBA Championship in 40 years. This marked the first time in 20 years, since the Houston Rockets in 1994 & 1995, that an ownership group had captured an NBA title within its first five years after taking control of the franchise. The championship campaign tipped off the most successful three-year run in NBA history, as the club amassed an NBA-record 207 regular-season victories from 2014-15 to 2016-17, including the most wins in a single season in NBA history (73) in 2015-16. The Warriors captured their second NBA Championship in three years in 2016-17, posting a 16-1 (.941) mark in the 2017 NBA Playoffs, the best single-season winning percentage in NBA postseason history. The Warriors have made five-straight playoff appearances for the first time since doing so in each of the NBA’s first six seasons in existence from 1946-47 through 1951-52. In fact, prior to the last five seasons, the club had only made the playoffs once in the previous 18 years.
The franchise’s success in recent years has also extended to the business side. In 2014 and again in 2016, the Warriors were named “Sports Team of the Year” by the Sports Business Journal/Daily, in recognition of the organization’s innovative and successful business practices. This marks the first time that any professional team has won this prestigious sports business award more than once. Additionally, under Lacob’s guidance, the Golden State Warriors were named the 2016 winner of the Entrepreneurial Company of the Year (ENCORE) Award by the Stanford University Graduate School of Business in recognition of the organization’s entrepreneurial spirit in redefining sports management, pioneering the use of sports analytics in the NBA, and adopting new technologies that have transformed the fan experience. The Warriors are the first sports organization to win the ENCORE Award, which has been presented annually since 1982 to recognize best in class entrepreneurial companies from around the world, including such recent winners as Google (2004), Apple (2005), and Amazon (2010).
In addition to the Warriors organization-wide honors, Lacob was named the 2016 recipient of the Sports Executive of the Year award by the Sports Business Journal/Daily. He was also named one of the Bay Area’s Most Admired CEO’s by the San Francisco Business Times in November of 2015.
Since making a then-record-setting bid to purchase his hometown NBA club – a longtime dream of the Atherton resident – and assuming control of the team on November 12, 2010, Lacob has been the driving force behind many of the creative changes that have transpired with the organization, including several major announcements, prominent personnel additions and an emphasis on transparency. Additionally, since its inception in 2012, the revamped Warriors Community Foundation has awarded nearly $4 million in grants – one of the top figures in the NBA – to local school districts and non-profits serving at-risk and vulnerable students.
In October 2015, the Warriors completed the purchase of 12 acres of land in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood and, in January 2017, broke ground on Chase Center, the team’s state-of-the-art sports and entertainment complex set to open in fall of 2019. In addition to making monumental commitments to the team’s future, Lacob has taken an active role in connecting the current Warriors organization with its rich history. In 2012, Lacob saw to it that one of the most beloved players in franchise history, Chris Mullin, received the honor of having his #17 jersey raised to the rafters at Oracle Arena, becoming the sixth player in franchise history to have his number retired.
During his first full offseason as owner in the summer of 2011, Lacob recruited two of the most experienced, successful and respected individuals in NBA circles to join the organization, landing NBA Hall of Famer and basketball icon Jerry West as an executive board member, and hiring longtime league and team executive Rick Welts as president and chief operating officer. Additionally, Lacob played a significant role in the hiring of successful sports agent Bob Myers, who is now the club’s president of basketball operations/general manager and was named NBA Executive of the Year following the Warriors championship season of 2014-15.
Lacob’s NBA and professional sports experience dates back over two decades, including a five-year tenure as minority owner of the Boston Celtics, where he served on the basketball committee. He earned an NBA World Championship ring in 2008 with the storied franchise before selling his minority stake to purchase the Warriors.
Lacob began his career at Menlo Park, California, based Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in 1987. Though still a strategic advisor to the firm, he has relinquished his managing partner role in order to pursue his lifelong goal of owning and operating an NBA team. In his role as a venture capitalist, he has led investments in over 50 start-up companies across multiple fields in life sciences and medical technologies, the internet and energy.
Lacob earned a Bachelor’s in Biological Sciences from the University of California-Irvine, a Master’s in Public Health (Epidemiology) from UCLA and an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He credits his Master’s degree in Epidemiology (biostatistics) with providing him a background in statistics that helped drive his passion for sports. It also played a role in his decision to invest in Sportsline – one of the first sports internet sites – and one of Lacob’s earliest sports success stories. He was also a primary investor and pioneer of the American Basketball League, a professional women’s basketball league that eventually lost out to the WNBA. Lacob continues as one of the original partners in the Pebble Beach Company, an effort formed to bring the historic Pebble Beach resort and golf course back to long-term American ownership. Additionally, Lacob has been involved with Stanford basketball for over 25 years and is a fixture in his courtside seats at Maples Pavilion. Lacob currently serves on the Board of Directors of one public company, Align Technology, as well as several other privately-held companies, including Neuropace and Athos, a wearable technology startup in athletic wear.
In recent years, Lacob has been involved in industry organizations including the American Heart Association and the AHA Roundtable. He has also been very active at Stanford University, serving on advisory boards at the medical center, business school and athletic department. Lacob’s philanthropic interests focus on education, both in the community and with universities. In 2014, he gifted $1 million to Washington University in St. Louis to establish a new Sports Management program at the Olin Business School. He has also provided scholarships to a number of high potential academic and athletic high school and college students in need.
An avid golfer, Joe has been a longtime participant in the AT&T National Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. He has played in a regular pick-up basketball game, and still does, at least twice weekly for over 30 years at Stanford. Most importantly for Warriors fans, Lacob has been a passionate fan of the Bay Area club that he now owns – supporting his local franchise as a loyal and dedicated Season Ticket Holder since 1998.