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Chris Webber heading group bidding for Hawks



Former NBA player Chris Webber is heading The Webber Group, which formally contacted the NBA regarding their plan to bid for majority interest in the Atlanta Hawks.

The team is for sale on the heels of a controversy involving racially charged comments by owner Bruce Levenson and general manager Danny Ferry.

Webber announced details via Twitter on Thursday.

“After garnering support of local community and business leaders, this week The Webber Group contacted the NBA to express our intentions to acquire the majority interest of the Atlanta Hawks. Our mission is to give the team back to the community that sustains it: Georgia. We will field a competitive team of high-character individuals that will exhibit championship characteristics off the court, while striving for that elusive title on the court. A quest for excellence, teamwork, leadership diversity, and community partnership will be our earmarks. Our passion and commitment will instill confidence in our corporate partners. We will put fans first. We will keep the team in Atlanta forever!”

Levenson said Sept. 7 he would sell controlling interest in the team. An inflammatory email from August 2012 surfaced and he voluntarily shared it with the league, which led the NBA to put CEO Steve Koonin atop the team’s day-to-day business operations.

In the email released by the Hawks, Levenson wrote: “My theory is that the black crowd scared away the whites and there are simply not enough affluent black fans to build a significant season ticket base. … Please don’t get me wrong. There was nothing threatening going on in the arena back then. I never felt uncomfortable, but I think southern whites simply were not comfortable being in an arena or at a bar where they were in the minority.”

Levenson said Hawks crowds were 70 percent black, the team’s cheerleaders are black and hip-hop music was played, which he claimed was not the case at other NBA arenas.

Commisioner Adam Silver said Levenson was in violation of the league’s core principles.

“He shared with me how truly remorseful he is for using those hurtful words and how apologetic he is to the entire NBA family — fans, players, team employees, business partners and fellow team owners — for having diverted attention away from our game,” Silver said in September. “I commend Mr. Levenson for self-reporting to the league office, for being fully cooperative with the league and its independent investigator, and for putting the best interests of the Hawks, the Atlanta community, and the NBA first.”

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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