LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers passes the ball under the hoop against Al Horford #42 of the Philadelphia 76ers during the second half at Staples Center on March 03, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
Katelyn Mulcahy | Getty Images
The Los Angeles Lakers, one of the richest NBA franchises, applied for and received $4.6 million in federal loans earmarked for small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the team said on Monday.
The Lakers have returned that money after learning that the pool of federal lending assistance from the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program’s initial allotment of $350 billion had been drained of cash because of the huge demand for it, according to the franchise.
Forbes recently ranked the Lakers second on its list of most valuable NBA teams, with a valuation of $4.4 billion, slighty behind the the New York Knicks valuation of $4.6 billion. The Lakers last year had $434 million in revenue and $178 million in operating income, according to Forbes, but also have fewer than 500 employees, which made them eligible for the PPP.
“The Lakers qualified for and received a loan under the Payroll Protection Program. However, once we found out the funds from the program had been depleted, we repaid the loan so that financial support would be directed to those most in need,” the team told CNBC in a statement.
“The Lakers remain completely committed to supporting both our employees and our community.”
A source familiar with the situation told CNBC that no other NBA team besides the Lakers received PPP loans, and was unaware of any other team applying for the assistance.
The PPP program does not require recipients to identify themselves publicly, and the federal government is not revealing their names.
Howevever, a number of publicly traded companies have disclosed that they received the loans in financial disclosures, because they are events that are considered material to their businesses.