For nineteen years, senior Microsoft executive Michael Nassirian worked throughout the company, managing teams on key projects including the highly-anticipated HoloLens release. Last year, however, Nassirian retired, focusing on tech-business mentorship and advisement pursuits, as well as his own self-founded ARVR Academy. Yesterday, however, reports confirm a decidedly different set of responsibilities: managing a basketball franchise.
The Puget Sound area of Bellevue, WA will see Nassirian take command of their first franchise team in the North American Premier Basketball League (NAPB), a new professional league set to commence games next year. Eight teams have signed on so far, with the Bellevue chapter expecting play in the next thirteen months.
With thirty years of experience, the Iranian-American software executive started his career at Texas Instruments in the mid-80s. Originally born in Iran, Nassirian’s family moved to Texas when he was seventeen; Microsoft would successfully win him over, bringing him to Seattle in 1997 with ten years of tech management experience from TI.
Ever the pragmatist, Nassirian is giving himself ample time to prepare for the games after purchasing the franchise and entering the sports sector. NAPB creator and president David Magley (who formerly headed the National Basketball League of Canada), “…said he was pleased that Nassirian had decided to purchase the franchise for Bellevue but give himself a year to put the pieces in place to be ready to go in 2019.”
For now, Nassirian is looking for a “venue that can support 3,000 to 3,500 spectators…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. We’re still looking.”
With the recent advent and application of VR viewership at NBA games, there is considerable supposition about Nassirian’s new-found involvement.
Nassirian’s ownership makes him the second Iranian-American owner of a professional basketball franchise; the other being Ali Youssefi who is part of the ownership group that purchased the NBA’s Sacramento Kings.
The NAPB will launch in 2018 with 32 games, 16 home and 16 away.
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