Investment Banks as NBA Teams

since my last post had some pretty positive responses and I'm pretty tired from seeing all the corona talk and bank-bashing on this forum, I thought I'd do more of these "investment banks as..." posts.

Here's the NBA. Surprised this hasn't been done already but here we go....

Goldman Sachs/Los Angeles Lakers: Universally heralded as a legendary franchise, not always no.1 in league tables/champion but largely manages to stay consistently good. Has garnered notoriety from crossing certain legal/ethical boundaries (Government Sachs, insider trading and whatnot/Rigged Kings-Lakers 2002 WCF aka league deliberately pushing Kobe and Shaq for a 3-peat). Nonetheless, both still manage to attract a diehard cult following and attract/produce superstar CEOs/players over the years (Corzine, Paulson, Blankfein/Kareem, Magic, Kobe).

J.P. Morgan/Golden State Warriors: Largely dormant throughout the history of Wall Street/Basketball barring success from its early form (House of Morgan/Philadelphia Warriors + Wilt Chamberlain era) but surged to the top after the GFC/coming of the Steve Kerr era. New leadership and ownership (Jamie Dimon and Chase/Steve Kerr and Joe Lacob) proceed to dominate the league (used interchangeably here) with their supersized balance sheet/near-mythical drafting, 3-pt shooting and small ball Death Lineup.

Morgan Stanley/Boston Celtics: Equally as legendary and successful, if not more, than GS/the Lakers with an equally rich history and track record of success. Both had a period where the franchise was hamstrung by bad management (Phillip J. Purcell - renowned strategist but bad CEO/Rick Pitino - legendary college coach but terrible NBA coach and an even worse GM), though eventually ousted, wasted valuable years.

Citigroup-Salomon Bros/Chicago Bulls: Surged in the 80s/90s from early obscurity into total dominance (Mortgage Trading/6 rings) and produced era-defining superstars (Lewis Ranieri, John Meriwether/Michael Jordan, Phil Jackson). Rapidly declined after their stars left (Rainieri fired, Meriwether leaving to start LTCM/Jordan retiring, Jackson fired then taking over the Lakers). Had a brief stint of resurgence (Citi returning to profitability post-GFC/reaching ECF in the Derrick Rose era) but still has a long way to go before they can break into the top ranks again.

BofA-Merrill Lynch/Philadelphia 76ers: Another historically prominent franchise with a rich history of winning. Both were successful (printing CDOs like there's no tomorrow/Allen Iverson era) before it all came crashing down (near-bankruptcy/failed rebuild leading to perpetual tanking aka "The Process"). Both were then rescued from hell by their savior (BofA/Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid) and proceeded to use their new weapons (giant balance sheet/shitloads of draft picks) to fight their way back (dominant LevFin and financing business/unloading their picks on Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris) to the top, but with mixed success.

Barclays/Brooklyn Nets: Big-spenders led by aggressive leaders (Jes Staley/Mikhail Prokhorov and Joe Tsai the bazillionaire owners) who've swung some (questionable) big moves (acquiring Lehman/trading for Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett) with mixed success and after swinging for the fences they're still unable to crack the top ranks.

Credit Suisse-First Boston/Oklahoma City Thunder-Seattle SuperSonics: One of the street/league's oldest and proudest franchises and once saw major success with its pair of superstar dealmakers/players (Wasserstein and Perella/Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton). But after their stars left they were eventually bought out and rebranded after years of decline. Largely still remains a strong franchise but saw mixed success in recent years.

Deutsche Bank/New York Knicks: Once a dominant franchise now ran into the ground by bad management (Jain-Fitschen, Cryan/every Knick GM since Scott Layden), internal dysfunction (stubbornly conservative Germans vs Wall Streeters led by Jain/James Dolan vs everybody) and blindly chasing short-term success (overpaying to poach MDs from competitors/signing overpaid free agents and refusing to tank and rebuild). Now rebuilding (once again) under a fresh direction and new leadership (retail banker Christian Sewing/agent-turned-GM Leon Rose) but only time will tell whether they can turn their fortunes...

UBS/Utah Jazz: Once a mighty franchise with superstars (Effron and Moelis/Stockton and Malone) that propelled them to compete at the very top - toe-to-toe with the very best. But after these stars left/retired they've become largely irrelevant. Still remains a strong private bank/playoff contender.

Evercore/Miami Heat: Lean, mean and hungry. One of the street/league's younger franchises, they've been incredibly successful since inception (top of the league tables/3 rings in only 32 years since franchise creation). Also has a cultish following similar to GS/Lakers and is a premier analyst/free agent destination.

Lazard/Denver Nuggets: One of the oldest franchises on the street/in the league. Though largely successful franchises, both never really cracked the top ranks.Although both did rise to prominence in mid-2000s (Bruce Wasserstein era and subsequent IPO/George Karl and Carmelo Anthony era reaching WCF).

This one's a little long. Comment below if you have anything to add :)

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Comments (85)

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Apr 15, 2020 - 4:27pm

RBC = '04 Pistons. Better than GS. Best bank on Wall Street no question

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Most Helpful
  • Business School in IB - Gen
Apr 15, 2020 - 4:39pm

Torontonian here. I actually think it would be appropriate in this case to say that RBC = Raptors.
Only major Canadian player among the rest, still considered an up and coming franchise but have had some major wins recently (BB/SunTrust deal, as an example) and still constantly doubted by some NBA analysts (i.e. Stephen A Smith) as a legitimate team/contender, even though they're holding their own in the ECF (similar to how RBC is in the US)

Apr 16, 2020 - 12:12am
Business School in IB - Gen:

Torontonian here. I actually think it would be appropriate in this case to say that RBC = Raptors.
Only major Canadian player among the rest, still considered an up and coming franchise but have had some major wins recently (BB/SunTrust deal, as an example) and still constantly doubted by some NBA analysts (i.e. Stephen A Smith) as a legitimate team/contender, even though they're holding their own in the ECF (similar to how RBC is in the US)

haha makes sense - thanks for the add. In that case I wonder who'd be Kawhi Leonard and Vince Carter (and T-Mac)

"They say money can't buy happiness? Look at the fuckin' smile on my face. Ear to ear, baby!" - Boiler Room

  • 1
Apr 16, 2020 - 1:57am

good point - especially since can also draw parallels between UBS/Cleveland Cavaliers - Lousy franchise that landed 2 superstars (Moelis, Effron/Lebron, Kyrie) and then became very good (dominant west coast M&A/winning a ring) but then rapidly declined after their stars jumped ship cuz too much dysfunctional bullshit

"They say money can't buy happiness? Look at the fuckin' smile on my face. Ear to ear, baby!" - Boiler Room

  • 1
Apr 15, 2020 - 4:48pm

or Pre-Lob City / Donald Sterling Clippers

Progress is impossible without change...
Apr 16, 2020 - 2:04am
Intern in IB - Gen:

Tobin & Co = Charlotte Bobcats

no way cuz that would mean Justine Tobin=Michael Jordan. ewwww................

"They say money can't buy happiness? Look at the fuckin' smile on my face. Ear to ear, baby!" - Boiler Room

  • 1
Apr 15, 2020 - 4:45pm

PJT = Houston Rockets
RX Powerhouse = Offensive Powerhouse

Progress is impossible without change...
  • 2
Controversial
  • Intern in IB-M&A
Apr 15, 2020 - 4:58pm

Harris williams = San Antonio Spurs (Duncan era). Well oiled machine, strong name in the industry, southern hq

Apr 15, 2020 - 5:43pm

Solid list. 2 things. No love for the Spurs? Arguably one of the best run franchises, (great scouting, front office, coaches), consistently competing in the league, I think they had the longest run of playoff appearances during in the 2000s. They were also one of the first franchises to really look into FIBA and Euro ball to get talent (Ginobili, Parker). I dont know what bank best fits that picture, someone help me out.

Also the Heat/Evercore parallel is on the money. Good leadership, (Pat Riley/Evercore heads are super smart), good culture and promotes a lot of internal talent (Spoelstra started of as a video guy).

Apr 16, 2020 - 12:00am

Hahaha yup that was the elephant in the room. Couldn't for the life of me draw parallels between the spurs and any bank (non-flashy, consistent success/dynasty, small market and doing more w/ less)

Any takers?

"They say money can't buy happiness? Look at the fuckin' smile on my face. Ear to ear, baby!" - Boiler Room

  • 1
Apr 16, 2020 - 9:27am

I'm honestly not familiar with middle market banks, but I would have thought Harris Williams given how WSO has been pretty positive on them as a solid MM bank historically (though the person that suggested it is getting MS'd so maybe I'm missing something).

Houlihan perhaps? Or I'm thinking more specifically HL's Restructuring team. Needing to take a technical approach - often on creditor side advisory (which many may see as less exciting and some viewers similarly complain of Spurs basketball) HL Restructuring is a well oiled machine, whose storied success is thanks to a careful execution of their playbook. But their playbook and style may also be a 'sign of the times' a la Spurs' play vs the three-point heavy NBA / market today.

Apr 16, 2020 - 10:20am

Spurs = Lazard

Amazing franchise but perhaps their best days are already behind them

Array
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  • 1
  • Intern in IB - Gen
Apr 15, 2020 - 8:35pm

Tobin & co = the first person who got knocked the fuck out by ron artest during malice at the palace (1)

1) Ron Artest = WallstreetOasis

  • VP in PE - LBOs
Apr 15, 2020 - 11:33pm

Jefferies = Memphis Grizzlies (Grit and especially Grind)

Greenhill = Phoenix Suns (early pioneer of the EB advisory / 3-heavy, fast-paced model, dominant run in the mid-late 2000s, have now faded into obscurity with people wondering if they're even an EB / NBA caliber team anymore. Will occasionally still land a huge mandate / 60 point Devin Booker game.

Allen & Co. = Atlanta Hawks. Flashy team that's ultimately a non-factor

Apr 16, 2020 - 12:44am

Bonus content: couple more that just came up on my mind...

HSBC/Houston Rockets: Strong franchise overall with an extensive global footprint/large fanbase, posesses destructive firepower (HUGE balance sheet/T-Mac and Yao Ming, Harden and Dwight/CP3/Westbrook) but never quite figured out how to use it properly. Thus, both have largely failed to crack the top ranks (global BB status/reaching the finals in recent years). Also has an eccentric excecutive known for making unorthodox big moves (Mark Tucker/Daryl Morey) but a stingy ownership (HSBC's board reluctant to build IB franchise/Tilman Fertitta reluctant to pay tax). Nonetheless remains competitive as a leading debt shop/perennial playoff contender.

RBS/Detroit Pistons: Strong platform in the 2000s that was very successful and held its own against the big boys, then shot itself in the foot with big moves that turned sour (acquiring ABN Amro/trading Billups -> failed rebuild -> trading for Blake Griffin) and now faded into obscurity.

Fed Regulators/NBA Comission: Regulatory body. Also known for its regulatory inconsistency and favoritism towards certain banks/teams (e.g. GS/Lakers) and against others (Euro BBs/small market teams). Is corrupt as fuck at times but somehow manages to keep the "fair and just" facade going.

Automation/Analytics: A new wave of trend that emphasizes on speed and efficiency. Made many old dinosaurs obsolete in the process (e.g. equity and voice fx trading/Van Gundy brothers, big men who don't space the floor). Few have survived the wave (voice guys who didn't get cut/old-school players e.g. DeMar DeRozan and Carmelo Anthony) but their days are numbered...

"They say money can't buy happiness? Look at the fuckin' smile on my face. Ear to ear, baby!" - Boiler Room

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  • 2
Apr 16, 2020 - 1:38pm

nah man the Bobcats were never good to begin with

"They say money can't buy happiness? Look at the fuckin' smile on my face. Ear to ear, baby!" - Boiler Room

  • 1
Apr 16, 2020 - 10:07am

bank first since im a diehard NBA fan so its not difficult to relate them back to teams.
(e.g. GS/Lakers MS/Celtics JPM/Warriors these draw parallels by themselves)

believe me mate if I could fit those banks and teams u mentioned I would've included them. hahaha

feel free to add if u got ideas!

"They say money can't buy happiness? Look at the fuckin' smile on my face. Ear to ear, baby!" - Boiler Room

  • 1
  • Associate 1 in IB - Gen
Apr 16, 2020 - 10:51am

If the Cavs are UBS, then Centerview can be the Nets. Big difference is that Effron is clearly top dog at CVP vs. Kyrie who is 1b at best when Durant comes back

Apr 16, 2020 - 1:37pm

my pleasure:) always happy to contribute

"They say money can't buy happiness? Look at the fuckin' smile on my face. Ear to ear, baby!" - Boiler Room

  • 1
  • Prospect in Other
Apr 16, 2020 - 1:12pm

Really enjoy these posts.

If you keep going, college basketball and/or football could be cool

Apr 16, 2020 - 1:37pm

nah soz don't know too much about that :'( next up might be soccer(futbol) tho

"They say money can't buy happiness? Look at the fuckin' smile on my face. Ear to ear, baby!" - Boiler Room

  • 3
  • Prospect in Other
Apr 16, 2020 - 1:40pm

Ah. I'd do it myself but don't understand the banking landscape as well as you. Maybe someone else can do it... Regardless, have enjoyed these posts!

  • Prospect in PE - Growth
Apr 16, 2020 - 4:00pm

Goldman Sachs: Real Madrid
Morgan Stanley: Barcelona
JP Morgan: Manchester City
BAML: Chelsea
Citi: Arsenal
Evercore: PSG
Lazard: Liverpool
PJT: Dortmund

Apr 16, 2020 - 2:12pm

Fair point. Wrong adjective maybe but the idea is the same: once was a powerhouse which was then bogged down in shit due to dysfunctional bullshit and being stuck in the past

"They say money can't buy happiness? Look at the fuckin' smile on my face. Ear to ear, baby!" - Boiler Room

Apr 16, 2020 - 3:43pm

Not as bored as you commenting to ask how bored am I...

"They say money can't buy happiness? Look at the fuckin' smile on my face. Ear to ear, baby!" - Boiler Room

  • 1
Apr 16, 2020 - 3:12pm

This needs an update for sure lol. The warriors were nice, but lost KD and are dealing with a string of injuries. The heat being Evercore doesn't make sense anymore because the Big 3 era is over - Spoelstra is great and manages to scrape by as a low seed in the East. Bucks should be on this list - I don't know enough about banking to make a comparison. The raptors as well. The one that is still pretty accurate is the Knicks and Deutsche because Dolan is garbage.

Apr 16, 2020 - 3:42pm

This wasn't meant to be up-to-date lol - its just a gag post to compare bank vs basketball team in terms of their trends/characteristics/people. And believe me if I could find a fitting comparison for the Bucks I'd have included them in the first place

"They say money can't buy happiness? Look at the fuckin' smile on my face. Ear to ear, baby!" - Boiler Room

  • 1
Apr 16, 2020 - 5:34pm

Cleveland Cavaliers / Drexel Burnham Lambert. Absolutley imploded after superstar Lebron James/Michael Milken left/got indicted

Array

Apr 27, 2020 - 4:57am

the Cavs are such a shit cake of an organisation its not even funny/memeable anymore...it took juicing lebron to the absolute limit (and gsw choking + questionable officiating) for them to win a chip

"They say money can't buy happiness? Look at the fuckin' smile on my face. Ear to ear, baby!" - Boiler Room

Apr 17, 2020 - 1:09am

I was waiting for people to spot the coincidence! (Same for GSW and Chase)

"They say money can't buy happiness? Look at the fuckin' smile on my face. Ear to ear, baby!" - Boiler Room

Apr 17, 2020 - 6:48am

As an NBA fan who used to know a lot about the different IB groups but doesn't know as much about their relative standing anymore, this thread was weirdly the perfect way to help re-calibrate, lol

+1 OP nice work

“Millionaires don't use astrology, billionaires do”
  • 1
Apr 17, 2020 - 1:21pm

This video will never not get me pumped up - KG after the 2008 NBA finals. I knocked the bully out!

Few players recall big pots they have won, strange as it seems, but every player can remember with remarkable accuracy the outstanding tough beats of his career.
Apr 17, 2020 - 2:45pm

Anything is possible

Also, who'd be the wallstreet equivalent of KG? hmm...

"They say money can't buy happiness? Look at the fuckin' smile on my face. Ear to ear, baby!" - Boiler Room

Apr 17, 2020 - 5:16pm

LMFAO
In Commodity Trading:

Celtics are Glencore.
**Mercuria **is both Salomon Brothers Goldman and the Golden State Warriors.
Hartree is the Raptors and
Trafigura is Enron

  • 1
Apr 21, 2020 - 5:08pm

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"They say money can't buy happiness? Look at the fuckin' smile on my face. Ear to ear, baby!" - Boiler Room

Aug 9, 2021 - 3:16pm

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  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Oct 5, 2021 - 8:29pm

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