Bruce Levenson sells the Atlanta Hawks to Antony Ressler

The new NBA season is just a few months away, and the Atlanta Hawks have new owners. The sale happened earlier this year during the playoffs, but that was not a real test for the new owners, since Bruce Levenson already left a strong team behind him. The real test begins with the start of a new season this October.

The season opens up in Detroit with the Pistons welcoming the Atlanta Hawks. The first game is always important, and this year there is even more pressure for the owners of the Hawks. They need to bring the fans back to the Philips Arena. The last few years the club had a problem with lower attendance than expected, and the club was not being looked at as a championship contender. But the 2014/2015 season was a rebirth of sorts for the Hawks, filling up the Philips Arena with attendance averaging 17,412 per game, which was actually a record for the franchise. Expectations are high, but can they be met?

Bruce Levenson, the previous owner, made a great move by selling the club to an owner that has the ability to invest and improve the position of the Hawks in the NBA. The club was sold for 850 million dollars to a group led by billionaire businessman Antony Ressler. Forbes valued the Hawks at 425 million dollars last year, but the sales of the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers changed the market. The market changed even more with the NBA landing lucrative television rights deals. Because of this, the clubs became more valuable making Bruce a very rich man earning him and his partners a few hundred million dollars. Bruce became part of the Hawks in 2004 when he formed a group called Atlanta Spirit LLC, now known as Atlanta Hawks LLC, to buy the club from Turner Broadcasting. Levenson was also the team’s managing partner and a member of the NBA Board of Governors. With varying success, his last season as the owner will be the most memorable one. The team has amazed basketball fans all over the world. They showed that by playing as one you can make outstanding results without having the biggest names of the game in your team. It is a rare occurrence that an owner leaves a team in a great state, with chances of further success in the future for the new owners.

When we know that last year the Hawks were the top seeded team in the Eastern conference with a record of 60-22, what can we expect from the team in the next NBA Season? The fans will definitely expect more, that’s just how it goes. For once, the fans want to see their favorite team fight for the title of NBA champion and they will fill the Phillips Arena, expecting just that. The new owners have a big task at hand.

It is certainly an exciting time for the club. Winning the NBA is not as a far-fetched concept as it once was. With the fans wanting more and filling the Arena like never before, the new owner will have to work hard not to disappoint.

The Atlanta Hawks: Upward Bound

One of the NBA’s most prominent basketball teams hails from the Peach State of the Georgia. Part of the southern division of the Eastern Conference, the Atlanta Hawks team owned by Bruce Levenson was formed in 1946 out of the midwest, and was originally named the Tri-Cities Blackhawks after the Illinois cities of Moline, Rock Island, and nearby Davenport, Iowa. Between the years of 1951 and 1968, the Blackhawks underwent relocation to both Milwaukee and St. Louis, changing their team name to the Hawks. In 1968, the team moved to its current home of Atlanta, Georgia.

The team’s only NBA championship win before moving to Georgia was in 1958 while in St. Louis. Winning the game was inevitable under the leadership of coaches Tom Heinsohn and Bill Sharman, featuring NBA Hall of Famers Bill Russell and Bob Petit. Numerous championship and team awards were earned since, including 4 conference titles (1957, 1958, 1960, and 1961) and 5 division titles (1970, 1980, 1987, 1994, and 2015).

Several years had passed in Atlanta when the team had encountered problems with game venues, but media mogul Ted Turner purchased the team in 1977 to avoid its relocation out of Georgia. Turner hired Coach Hubie Brown (NBA Coach of the Year, 1978), leading the team to their first division title. In 1996, Turner completed his merger with Time Warner, and his sports franchises were inherited in the transaction.

Atlanta Spirit LLC, a sports management and investment group, purchased the Atlanta Hawks and the Atlanta Thrashers hockey team in 2004. The company was led by seven businessmen, including majority owner Bruce Levenson. Levenson, an astute businessman, received his education from both American University (Washington, D.C.) and Washington University (St. Louis). He is currently co-founder of United Communications Group, has held leadership roles with TechTarget, Inc., BIA Digital Partners II LP, and has written for the Washington Star and Observer Publishing.

Atlanta Spirit had an ongoing vision of reviving the team’s high standing in the Association after suffering a losing record for several years.The company decided to restructure the organization by employing new management and acquiring new players through trades and draft picks. As a result, the team emerged from its slump by making the playoffs for six consecutive seasons.

Game rivalry between teams has been a catalyst for large spectator turnout, and the Atlanta Hawks is no exception to the rule. For over half a century, the Boston Celtics have competed fiercely with the Atlanta Hawks since the team joined the NBA. Another rivalry between the Hawks and the Orlando Magic has existed since 2004 when Georgia-born players Dwight Howard and Josh “J-Smoove” Smith were signed.

The Atlanta Hawks is undergoing new team ownership by an investment group comprised of former NBA player Grant Hill, investment tycoon Antony Ressler, and aviation mogul Jesse Itzler. The deal was reached with Bruce Levenson and partners in early 2015 and is in the process of finalizing. The team has continued to be a dominant force to be reckoned with over the years, and the future remains promising.

The Turn Around of the Atlanta Hawks

Overview

Just a couple of years ago, the Atlanta Hawks were one of the least financially viable teams in the NBA. Bruce Levenson decided to buy the franchise and work to turn it around. In a little under a decade he was able to take the Atlanta Hawks to new heights. There are several ways in which Bruce Levenson was able to turn his team around. First of all, he wanted to make sure the fans were enjoying the product on the court. The higher the fan support, the higher the ticket sales will be over the long run. In addition, Bruce Levenson knew that he had to invest money in the team’s players up front in order to see the performance on the court increase.

Player Investment

Any time an owner is trying to turn a team around, it is useful to look at how the team is currently performing and where they can do better. The NBA is an interesting league where one player can make all of the difference. Since there are only five players on the court at one time, it is difficult for teams to succeed without at least one great player. However, there is a premium on the best players in the league and teams should be ready to spend money to upgrade their roster. Teams can also be built up through the draft, but this takes many years to do.

Fan Support

Another vital aspect of turning around an NBA franchise is to get the fans on board. At the end of the day, running a sports team is all about getting the fans involved in the process. There are many people that have been able to turn a franchise around simply by connecting with the fans. In this case, Bruce Levenson went out of his way to make sure the fans were getting the product on the field that they wanted. There are few people that do not want their favorite team to succeed. Bruce Levenson knew that if the team started to win, the fan support and money would follow.

Bruce Levenson

There are very few NBA owners that have been able to turn around a franchise as quickly as he did. Not only does he love the sport, but he also loves interacting with the fans. In the city of Atlanta, the fans love their sports team and Bruce Levenson was able to tap in to this passion. His work is a great example of how much an NBA team can mean to a city of several million people. At the end of the day, his work is a great study in turning around a team.

FreedomPop Just Keeps Growing

FreedomPop recently had offers on their company that would allow them to sell out to a larger company, but they refused to do that. And they seem to have made the right choice in refusing to sell out, as they have been able to raise over $30 million in funding since then. They have many investors who believe in them and the free mobile services that they provide, and they are going to go on to do even more amazing things with the money that has been invested into their company.

According to the USA Today, FreedomPop will have 1 million users in the United States alone. They are quickly growing and becoming a big company. People love the services that they provide, and they are showing that by not only using their services themselves, but also sharing with their friends and family. The word about this company is being quickly spread, and they will be sure to keep growing in the next few years.

FreedomPop is all about the free services that it provides, and people love the company for that. With the new round of funding that they have received, though, they are wanting to go on to do even bigger things. They are excited to expand their company beyond what it is right now and to make it into something truly special.

FreedomPop is one of those companies that started off with the hope that they would be able to succeed, even though they had no guarantee that they would, and they have been able to do really well. They’re continuing to grow and expand thanks to the generous investors who believe in them. And, with their new plans for making the company into even more than it is right now, they will be sure to keep growing.

Amare Stoudemire Looks to Evolve in Miami.

It has been more than a couple of years since Amare Stoudemire was truly a force in the NBA. The talented offensive power forward used to be the cream of the crop back when he was playing with Steve Nash in Phoenix. A trade to New York and a string of injuries have caused the big man to fall out of most rotations, outside of a nice little run in Dallas last season. Now, having signed on with the Miami Heat, it looks like Stoudemire is ready for a wholesale fresh start and he plans to make the most of it.

Last season the 13 year veteran averaged 12 points and 6 rebounds per game with most of those numbers coming from his time spent in New York. As a Maverick Stoudemire played a key back up role for the Dallas, averaging almost 10 PPG in their series against the Houston Rockets. Fans like Ricardo Tosto know that, as a member of the Heat, Stoudemire will back up Hassan Whiteside and star Chris Bosh.

Stoudemire has told reporters in no uncertain terms that he is ready to do what the coaches ask of him, even if it means not playing very much at all. For the Heat, Stoudemire represents a chance to add veteran depth that has impact talent onto their bench. With Whiteside prone to foul trouble and Bosh still recuperating from injury, Stoudemire could be a huge addition to the squad.

Florida State Quarterback Released

Freshman Quarterback for Florida State University has been released by the team says the team spokesperson. The quarterback was charged with battery last month and the college was taking a wait and see stance, but after a video was released showing the freshman punching a girl in the face, he was quickly released from the team.

Freshman quarterback for Florida State University, De’Andre Johnson,was in a Tallahassee bar getting a drink when he was approached by a woman in line at the bar. She had been waiting in line for her order when Johnson pushed past her and tried to get served first. Ricardo Tosto has learned that when she confronted the freshman quarterback, he swiftly punched her squarely in the face and knocked her to the ground. Video tape was released showing that the quarterback did punch the woman clearly in the face without provocation.

The state now has possession of the five minute videotape from the bar, and serious charges are pending for Johnson. FSU decided to cut ties with the freshman after obtaining a copy of the tape, having dismissed the troubled teen from the team. When the initial report was first released, the school had placed Johnson on indefinite suspension. It appears clear in the videotape that the quarterback reacted to the woman grabbing his arm by squaring off and punching her right in the face, knocking her to the floor.

Chris Sale on Historic Run Despite Terrible White Sox Offense

Chris Sale is what you could consider as a generational talent. The intimidating yet lanky left hander has been one of the best hurlers int he league since getting his first couple of starts in the MLB. At 26 years old Chris Sale has already won 50 games with an ERA of 2.78 while collecting almost 880 strike outs along the way. Now Sale is having a historic streak with the White Sox as he has thrown double digit punch outs in eight straight games, and nine of his last ten.

Sale is most recently coming off of an 8 inning outing over the St. Louis Cardinals where he fanned 12 batters while only allowing one run and scattering six total hits. Predictably the White Sox offense was equally stymied and Sale was left with yet another no decision. Fans like Jim Dondero agree that this has to be frustrating for one of the best arms in the game but we are sure he isn’t complaining too much.

Right now Sale headlines a White Sox rotation that has been pretty solid, on the whole. Yet the bigger issue in Chicago is the fact that their bats aren’t really waking up with any urgency. As Chicago wastes these elite starts the team is tanking more and more in the standings, and likely frustrating the fanbase as a result.

Still, if nothing else we are glad to see that Sale has put his injuries behind him to resume his amazing career.

Stephen Weiss Bought out by Wings

In the salary cap era, even teams like the Detroit Red Wings are having troubles these days. In 2013 the Red Wings signed former Florida Panthers captain Stephen Weiss to a five-year deal worth $24 million. Neither the contract nor Weiss really truly worked out for the Wings. Weiss only played a total of 86 games over the past two years due to injuries. The Wings announced on Tuesday that they were going to buy out the remaining three years of his contract. To help with their current cap issues, by buying out the contract the wings will only take a $1.06 million dollar cap hit over the next several years.

Wings General Manager Ken Holland said the move was strictly based on cap issues and had nothing to do with being nonproductive. Cap issues were another reason why the Wings opted to buy out his contract this year as opposed to last year. The Red Wings will have their hands full as they are trying to resign several key players this year to new deals and Sam Tabar says even more the following year. Tomas Jurco and Gustav Nyquist both need new deals this year and Riley Sheahan, Petr Mrazek, Justin Abdelkader, Danny DeKeyser will all need to be extended next year. Holland made it clear that they were planning on giving the young guys on the team lots of playing time next year and that the time to move away from older broken players is here.

Mike Richards Contract Terminated for Breach

Reports came out yesterday that the Los Angeles Kings were parting ways with center Mike Richards. The Kings acquired Richards from the Philadelphia Flyers back in 2011 when Richards was producing for the Flyers. Since his acquisition, Richards has not exactly lived up to the hype or the paycheck. The Kings released Richards in an attempt to get out from under a huge contract which would require the Kings to pay him until the year 2024. The contract, which was signed by Richards while playing for the Flyers, was for 12 years and a total of $69 million dollars. Richards’s production bottomed out once he put on a Kings uniform and he only had 16 points for the Kings last year.

Fans at Boraie Development know that it has come out now that the Kings terminated his contract because of a “material breach” committed by Richards. The Kings however are not willing to release any further details. According to league sources, the current collective bargaining agreement allows teams to terminate a contract in a player should ”fail, refuse, or neglect to obey the club’s rules governing training and conduct.” Dean Lombardi, General Manager for the LA Kings, has criticized Richards for his poor fitness in the past. It can only be assumed that this may be what got Richards contract terminated. This one is far from over as the NHL Players Association will have to take a look at all of the details to determine what course of action Richards has.

Ellis and USWNT Prepare for China

There seems to be a lot of debate as to how Head Coach Jill Ellis should have the US Women’s National Teamattack China in the quarter final round of the Women’s World Cup. Not sure what if anything the pundits believe they will gain from having the debate in the first place since it will be Ellis and the players on the field that will decide ultimately how the game is going to be played. One thing is for sure two of the team’s starters Megan Rapinoe and Lauren Holiday will be sitting out the game for have two yellow card infractions in the earlier rounds of the tournament. Both have made a significant and positive impact on how the team has played thus far and will be missed, but really the team needs some of the other stars to really shine if the team is to move further.

Namely team captain Abby Wambach who has just not been playing up to the level we have grown accustomed to seeing at says Sergio Cortes. Her headers have missed their mark and most recently she missed a penalty kick. But really they all looked out skilled against the Columbian team. They weren’t outplayed as a team, but the lack of individual skills was certainly available for viewing. At least the defense is playing the best as a core unit than any other team. Goal Keeper Hope Solo has barely had to insert her presence in this tournament so far and if this back line has anything to do with it she won’t have a huge role at all.