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Houston billionaire purchases NBA’s Rockets for a record $2.2 billion

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Tilman Fertitta (center) watches a Houston Rockets game from courtside. (Getty Images)

HOUSTON — Texas billionaire Tilman Fertitta has reportedly bought the NBA’s Houston Rockets for a record sum of $2.2 billion, according to an ESPN report.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarwoski reported the sale — and its massive price tag — Monday morning.

The sale is pending approval by the NBA’s Board of Governors, ESPN reported. Fertitta is a native of Galveston, Texas.

“I am truly honored to have been chosen as the next owner of the Houston Rockets,” Fertitta said in a statement released by the team. “This is a life-long dream come true.”

The Rockets were valued at $1.65 billion — eighth-most in the NBA — by Forbes Magazine earlier this year, but received multiple offers that started at $2 billion, league sources told Wojnarowski.

Fertitta owns Landry’s Inc., one of the nation’s biggest restaurant corporations, and Golden Nuggets Casinos and Hotels. The Rockets said in a statement that Fertitta has no other partners in connection with the transaction, which also includes operation of the Toyota Center in Houston.

If the sale of the franchise is approved, the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas will not be able to offer betting on Rockets games.

An original investor in the NFL’s Houston Texans, Fertitta offered $81 million to buy the Rockets in 1993, but the team was sold to Leslie Alexander for $85 million.

“I am excited to welcome and pass the torch to Tilman,” Alexander said in a statement. “He is a Houstonian, business leader and committed to the success and excellence of the Rockets both on and off the basketball court. I have personally known Tilman for over 24 years and don’t think I could have found anyone more capable of continuing the winning tradition of our Houston Rockets.”