Former Houston Rockets and Hall of Fame center Yao Ming speaks during a halftime ceremony where his number 11 jersey is retired at Toyota Center in Houston, Feb. 3, 2017.
(ECNS) -- U.S. billionaire restaurateur Tilman Fertitta, Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale and former NBA star Yao Ming reportedly have expressed interest in purchasing the Houston Rockets after owner Leslie Alexander put it up for sale.
Fertitta, owner of Landry's Inc., one of the nation's biggest restaurant corporations, said he would consider purchasing the team by himself if the numbers were right. "If it's an unreasonable number, I'll pull a group together, and if it's a crazy number, I won't participate," he said.
Back in 1993, Houston native Fertitta offered million to buy the team, but Alexander ended up winning the bid at million. In February, Forbes valued the team at an estimated .65 billion.
McIngvale, owner and operator of the Gallery Furniture franchise in Houston, has also confirmed his interest in the team.
According to U.S. media, sources close to Ming said the former Rocket is also interested in the acquisition.
As one of China's best-known athletes, Yao was also reported to have an interest in buying the Los Angeles Clippers and the Milwaukee Bucks with a group of Chinese investors in the past. Early this year, Yao was elected president of the Chinese Basketball Association.