Aaron, baseball's home run king for 33 years, reportedly has joined a group of team owners from the NBA, Major League Soccer and Italian soccer's Serie A. The Hawks franchise hit the market this week after owner Bruce Levenson decided in September to sell his controlling interest in the team after a 2012 email surfaced in which he used racial stereotypes to describe the team's fan base.
Aaron's group of potential owners is led by Memphis Grizzlies minority owner and vice chairman Steve Kaplan, Indonesian media magnates Erick Thohir and Handy Poernomo Soetedjo and former Grizzlies CEO Jason Levien, the current managing general partner of MLS club DC United. The group also reportedly includes "a select and diverse group of prominent investors," according to Stein's report.
After retiring following the 1976 season with 755 career home runs, Aaron, 80, became an executive with the Atlanta Braves, for whom he played 21 of his 23 major league seasons. Since 1980, he has been the Braves' senior vice president. According to ESPN, Aaron also has built a deep business portfolio with a number of car dealerships and restaurants, and his relationship with Atlanta was a major factor in his joining the group of potential bidders.
The consortium with Aaron is the second known group to be interested in buying the Hawks. David Aldridge of TNT reported earlier this week that a group led by former NBA players Grant Hill and Junior Bridgeman has put together a bid with a group including former Phoenix Suns owner Jerry Colangelo and his son, former Suns and Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo.
- Mike Fiammetta