The following statement was released today by Atlanta Hawks Controlling Owner Bruce Levenson:
“Over the past several years, I’ve spent a lot of time grappling with low attendance at our games and the need for the Hawks to attract more season ticket holders and corporate sponsors. Over that time, I’ve talked with team executives about the need for the Hawks to build a more diverse fan base that includes more suburban whites, and I shared my thoughts on why our efforts to bridge Atlanta’s racial sports divide seemed to be failing.
In trying to address those issues, I wrote an e-mail two years ago that was inappropriate and offensive. I trivialized our fans by making clichéd assumptions about their interests (i.e. hip hop vs. country, white vs. black cheerleaders, etc.) and by stereotyping their perceptions of one another (i.e. that white fans might be afraid of our black fans). By focusing on race, I also sent the unintentional and hurtful message that our white fans are more valuable than our black fans.
If you’re angry about what I wrote, you should be. I’m angry at myself, too. It was inflammatory nonsense. We all may have subtle biases and preconceptions when it comes to race, but my role as a leader is to challenge them, not to validate or accommodate those who might hold them.
I have said repeatedly that the NBA should have zero tolerance for racism, and I strongly believe that to be true. That is why I voluntarily reported my inappropriate e-mail to the NBA.
After much long and difficult contemplation, I have decided that it is in the best interests of the team, the Atlanta community, and the NBA to sell my controlling interest in the Hawks franchise.
Hawks CEO Steve Koonin will oversee all team operations and take all organizational reports as we proceed with the sale process.
I’m truly embarrassed by my words in that e-mail, and I apologize to the members of the Hawks family and all of our fans.
To the Hawks family and its fans, you have my deepest gratitude for the past ten years. Working with this team and its extraordinary executives, coaching staff, and players has been one of the highlights of my life. I am proud of our diverse, passionate, and growing legion of Hawks fans, and I will continue to join you in cheering for the best team in the NBA.”
via NBA Press Releases
Here is the text of the E-mail.
Sources: Lakers Have Inquired on Spurs’ Leonard
The Los Angeles Lakers have expressed interest in San Antonio Spurs All-Star Kawhi Leonard, league sources told Shams Charania of Yahoo. No specific proposals have yet been discussed.
The Los Angeles Lakers have reached out to the San Antonio Spurs to express interest in All-Star Kawhi Leonard, league sources tell Yahoo. No proposals have been discussed.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 21, 2018
Source: Shams Charania of Yahoo
Sources: Several Teams Interested in Trading into Lottery
Multiple teams remain active in trying to trade higher into the lottery, sources tell ESPN.
Among the teams still active in trying to trade higher into lottery: Dallas, Chicago, Cleveland and the Clippers, league sources tell ESPN. Philadelphia’s No. 10 pick is in play, a target for teams pursing Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Otherwise, he could go No. 11 to Charlotte.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 21, 2018
Sources: 76ers Considered Trading Markelle Fultz To Move Up In Draft
The Philadelphia 76ers had internal discussions about packaging the No. 10 and 26 picks, along with former No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz, to move into the top five, league sources told The Athletic. The target was [Michael] Porter during these discussions. However, that thinking dampened with Porter’s back remaining a major question mark. If JJ Redick leaves in free agency, Fultz is the favorite to start at shooting guard.
Source: Michael Scotto of The Athletic