It’s over. Finally, mercifully, and long since it should have been, it’s over. The Atlanta Hawks have their ownership situation resolved. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution who secured the exclusive interview this weekend:
Meruelo (pronounced mur-rel-o) said some members of the Spirit group will maintain minority ownership positions but that he will own more than 50 percent and control ownership decisions. He would not be more specific about the size of his stake and would not divulge the price he has agreed to pay for it.
But he said, “I will be in complete control of the team.”
via L.A. businessman buying majority stake in Hawks | ajc.com.
Meruelo will become the first Hispanic majority owner in the NBA, another sign of the diversity that exists within the league, even if progress has been slow-going. Meruelo won’t become official owner until the Board of Governors approves him, and considering that it seems like getting them in the room is pulling teeth at this point, there’s no telling when that will be in the midst of a lockout. But when he is approved, Meruelo has pledged a hands-on approach, which can be good or bad, but it’s what the Hawks need at this point.
The sale will bring resolution to a conflict that’s dragged on for years within the Hawks ownership group which fractured irrevocably. It’s honestly been a miracle that they were able to re-sign Joe Johnson to that deal everyone thinks was moronic, considering their dysfunction. With one owner, hopefully they’ll be able to get some leadership going forward in terms of a crowded cap situation and a fanbase that seems to become more disillusioned and acerbic towards the team the further they go in the playoffs. For starters, not having half the building rooting for the visiting playoff team would be a great start.
Meruelo owns a pizza chain, then branched out into various interests. He told the AJC that he has no plans to relocate the team, a valid concern based off of Meruelo’s Los Angeles roots.
Hassan Whiteside recorded a triple-double last night against the Hornets, and his tenth block was particularly impressive. He didn’t so much block Marvin Williams‘ layup attempt as pluck it out of the air with one hand. It almost looks like it should count as a block, rebound and steal at the same time.
The NBA world has taken notice of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. In Thursday night’s home game against the Knicks on TNT, Pistons players wore warmup shirts that read “FLINT NOW,” and the organization announced a $500,000 donation towards providing clean water for residents of the town.
Former Pistons great and general basketball legend Rasheed Wallace went even further, according to a tweet from his alma mater, the University of North Carolina:
Sheed obviously has a connection to Michigan, having played in Detroit for six years (including on the 2004 title team) and serving as an assistant coach for the Pistons during the 2013-14 season. This was an incredible gesture by him for the residents of a town that has been without drinkable water for a long time.
The Kings are a complete mess right now. After a loss to the Nets on Friday night, the team is reportedly considering firing head coach George Karl, who has been with the team for just about one year, and DeMarcus Cousins says they have “a bigger issue than the players.”
But, on the bright side, Cousins is still a monster on the court. During the Nets loss, he posted a triple-double with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, showing why he’s the one thing about this franchise that is going to be worth talking about long-term.
Russell Westbrook has been wearing the new Air Jordan XXX on the court for nearly a month now. Considering he’s averaging a triple-double in his last 10 games — 22 points, 12 assists, 10 rebounds — I’d say he’s pretty comfortable in them.
Continuing a trend of using the respected Jordan brand name with modern players to sell the shoes, this latest ad for the Air Jordan XXX shoes features a young hypeman who describes Westbrook as “the new Big Bang,” and asks people to “make room – as the man is about to take off.”
The Air Jordan XXX hit retail stores on Feb. 12. Westbrook will be wearing them next weekend in Toronto for the All-Star Game.