Owners in the NBA are very wealthy individuals who own the NBA teams, also known as franchises. Owners provide the money necessary to run a team's daily operations. Although the "owner" is the term these individuals are most commonly known for, the NBA has been trying to get away from that name lately, and instead referring to the top executive in a team as governor.
Governors take part in a team's decision making, both in the business side and in the basketball side. Some owners like to be more participative in the basketball side and give insights on who should their team draft or what coach to hire; while others see fit to leave general managers and coaches make those decisions for themselves. However, since the governors are the ones signing the checks, they have control over how much the team pays players. That way, every owner ends up getting involved at least a little bit with the basketball operations.
Teams often have not only one sole owner, but rather a group of many different investors in the team. Similar to a company, whichever governor owns the biggest percentage of a team is called the majority owner, while others are called minority owners. The majority owner is the one involved with the team's operations and are considered the "face of the team". Companies can also be part owners of teams, as it is the case of the Toronto Raptors, who have Rogers Communications as an investor.
NBA majority owners are the ones that compose the NBA Board of governors. The board's job is to vote on rule changes and discuss the league's future, working alongside the NBA commissioner, who is the league's ultimate chief. The board of governors also negotiate the CBA with the NBA Players Association. Governors invest billions of dollars in owning franchises, and so players and governors have to reach an agreement that does not underpays the athletes and does not make governors lose money. Such negotiations are not easy, and sometimes take a long time to be finished.
Just like players, NBA governors can be punished by the NBA commissioner with fines and suspensions if they misbehave. A very famous case happened with David Sterling, former Los Angeles Clippers governor. Sterling made racist remarks during a Clippers game which were not fit with the NBA's ideals and purpose. Sterling was forced to sell the team and had to pay the league a very heavy fine.
Some of the most famous NBA governors in the NBA are Mark Cuban (Dallas Mavericks), Buss family (LA Lakers), Steve Ballmer (LA Clippers), James Dolan (NY Knicks), Jerry Reinsdorf (Chicago Bulls), Michael Jordan (Charlotte Hornets), Robert Sarver (Phoenix Suns). Governors can become known for good reasons such as charisma and community services, or by bad reasons like terrible management of the organization or unfortunate remarks.