NBA owners, embroiled in a shutdown over money issues with players, announced on Tuesday they have voted unanimously to approve the sale of the Philadelphia 76ers.
Joshua Harris, a buyout specialist from New York, will be the controlling owner of the investment group, which includes David Blitzer, actor Will Smith, a native of Philadelphia, and his wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith.
"Josh and David bring vast business experience that will greatly benefit the team as it continues to grow both on and off the court," NBA commissioner David Stern said.
No price was revealed for the deal, which ends the 15-year ownership of the 76ers by Comcast-Spectacor, owners of the National Hockey League's Philadelphia Flyers and the arena they share with the 76ers.
The 76ers, whose television rights deal with Comcast SportsNet runs through 2029, were valued by Forbes magazine earlier this year at $330 million, ranking them 17th in value among the league's 30 clubs.
The sale comes as the NBA owners have locked out the players in a dispute over money that has already promoted the league to wipe out the first two weeks of the 2011-2012 season schedule.
Philadelphia fans have not celebrated an NBA title since 1983. The 76ers last reached the NBA Finals in 2001, losing to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Since then, they have won only one playoff series and they have not had a winning record since the 2004-2005 season.
"We are excited to be writing a new chapter in Sixers lore," Harris said.