The Atlanta Hawks Prepare For Their First Season Without Bruce Levenson
The NBA is an ever changing landscape that seems to include new players and coaches each season, in recent years the trend for new owners has also been catching on as the ownership of teams becomes as compelling a story as the trading of players. The Summer of 2015 saw the end of the saga of the sale of the Atlanta Hawks, which saw the ownership consortium headed by Maryland based businessperson Bruce Levenson depart Philips Arena. The arrival of Tony Ressler as the new owner of the Hawks franchise sees one of the most respected owners in the NBA move offstage to concentrate on his philanthropic and business interests.
Bruce Levenson and the Atlanta Spirit consortium arrived in Atlanta in 2004 with the team rooted firmly to the bottom of the NBA standings. Levenson and his fellow consortium members entered what is now Philips Arena after the failed bid to win the NBA Championship under the ownership of Time Warner and Ted Turner. The Hawks have a single NBA Championship to their name, won in 1958 by a team headed by legendary player Bob Pettit. The aim of all the owners since 1958 has been to replicate the success of the Championship winning team, which Bruce Levenson feels he has laid the foundations for prior to the sale of the Hawks to Ressler and his financial backers.
There is more to the life of Forbes billionaire Bruce Levenson than simply the sports teams he has owned, instead he is a dedicated charity worker and extremely successful businessperson. Tony Ressler has added to his sporting dynasty with the Atlanta Hawks, who join the part ownership Ressler holds in the MLB’s Milwaukee Brewers franchise. Levenson and his consortium showed their business sense with the trimming of their sporting teams ownership when the Atlanta Thrashers were sold to a Canadian consortium who relocated the team to become the Winnipeg Jets. By selling the Thrashers franchise the Levenson led consortium focused their efforts on the basketball team, a period which saw the team take large steps to securing a regular spot in the NBA playoffs.
Business does not consume the entire life of Bruce Levenson, who has become one of the major supporters of community programs in Maryland, Washington and the wider world. As an NBA team owner Levenson played an important role in the growth of the Make A Wish Foundation’s partnership with the NBA. In recent times he has also played an important role in developing charitable programs like the U.S. Holocaust Museum and the School of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership at the University of Maryland.