LA businessman Alex Meruelo (above) promised to keep the Hawks in Atlanta at a press conference earlier today announcing his pending acquisition of a majority share of the NBA franchise, potentially making him the first Hispanic owner in league history. The Meruelo Group describes itself as “a minority-owned and operated holding company with vested interests in Construction and Engineering and affiliated interests in Real Estate, Food Services and Private Equity,” but the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Jeff Schultz is satisfied enough to declare, “It means Bruce Levenson isn’t in charge. It means Michael Gearon Jr. isn’t in charge. It means Ed Peskowitz, Rutherford Seydel, the ghost of Steve Belkin, Topo Gigio and anybody else who ever was among the blur of Atlanta Spirit partners isn’t in charge.”
If the Atlanta Spirit wasn’t the worst ownership in the history of professional sports, it at least is in the argument.
I don’t know a thing about Alex Meruelo, other than what I Google and read. Pizza restaurants. Construction. A casino. A television station. Dandy.
The guy could have made his fortune selling second-hand nuclear reactors and I’d be cool with it. Alex Meruelo suddenly emerging the top of Atlanta Hawks’ food chain is like popping a few extra strength Tylenol, knowing the headache is bound to get better.
I know. He’s not from here. He doesn’t live here. He never has owned a sports team before. He comes with no guarantees.
Sorry, there is no such thing as guaranteed perfect owners, any more than there are guaranteed perfect general managers, coaches and point guards.
For all we know, Meruelo could be another Levenson (get down on your knees and pray no). Or he could be another Arthur Blank (get down on your knees and pray yes).
But wouldn’t you rather take the unknown vs. the known?