This Nov. 23, 2014, file photo shows Duke great Grant Hill talking about his college team during a National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame induction event, in Kansas City, Mo. The team I played for, they’re still doing documentaries about it,” said 1990s Duke star Grant Hill, a key character in the much-discussed ESPN account of his hateable teammate, Christian Laettner. “But if it was this day and age, that team never would’ve existed. I would’ve been pressured to leave after my first year.” (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley, File)
Seven-time NBA All-Star Grant Hill is among the new owners of the Atlanta Hawks, the franchise announced April 22.
Hill is part of an ownership group led by billionaire Antony Ressler, who is also joined by private equity investor Richard Schnall, Spanx founder Sara Blakely and her husband, Marquis Jet co-founder Jesse Itzler.
We are excited to welcome this new ownership group and are deeply gratified by its commitment to the Hawks and the Atlanta community,” said Hawks CEO Steve Koonin in a statement. “We are pleased that the group is committed to continue building on the franchise’s storied history and recent success.”
Though terms of the sale were not officially released, The Associated Press reported that someone familiar with the deal said Ressler’s group will pay $850 million, which also covers the team’s debt.
The transaction, however, still has to be approved by the NBA Board of Governors.
“We are honored and thrilled to have been chosen to become the new stewards of the Hawks,” said Ressler, according to a Hawks press release. “We respect the NBA’s approval process and, accordingly, can say no more other than we are incredibly excited by the Hawks’ success and wish them luck in the playoffs.”
The Hawks became available for sale last September when co-owner Bruce Levenson came forward about a racially-charged e-mail he had sent two years earlier in which he complained that Black fans were scaring Whites away from their games.
Levenson’s e-mail was uncovered during the team’s internal investigation of general manager Danny Ferry, who made racially derogatory comments about potential free agent signee Luol Deng during a conference call with the ownership group, according to the AP. The discovery came in the wake of the scandal surrounding LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s racist remarks and actions, which eventually led to his ouster from the team.