This was back in the first week of February, the halcyon, long-ago days when Corona was best known for complementing burritos; lockdown was a term reserved for prison movies; and masks were reserved for Halloween. So it wasn’t at all strange that celebrity after celebrity traipsed into a double-wide suite at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, and then packed in tighter than subway commuters.

Sure, the Chiefs and 49ers were playing in Super Bowl LIV. But on the suite level, directly above the 50-yard line, the occasion felt like a cocktail party with a football game tacked on. Shaq, Cardi B, Ari Emanuel, Ben Simmons, Kevin Hart, Robert Kraft and Emily Ratajkowski were among the dozens of stars rotating in.

The host, the figure with the celebrity tropism to assemble this guest list? He is no athlete. He is no entertainer. He not only can, but does, walk the streets of Greenwich Village unnoticed. But Michael Rubin already ranks among the most influential and well-connected figures in sports. A billionaire before he got out of his 30s, Rubin is a minority owner of teams in the NBA, NHL and Premier League, and is a good bet to buy the next NBA or NFL team that comes up for purchase. The company he founded, Fanatics, is the Amazon of sports apparel—maker of all that licensed NFL, NBA and MLB gear in your (and your kid’s) closet—and part of his larger technology business, Kynetic, which also includes online shopping destination Rue Gilt Groupe and membership program ShopRunner.

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