Recently the NBA team Atlanta Hawks were sold to billionaire Tony Ressler, starting a new era and what Hawks fans hope to be a breakthrough to the NBA Championship series. The Hawks have had many years of making the playoffs as well as years where they’ve posted NBA-best record seasons, yet still the championships elude them although this last season they made it to the East finals for the first in a long time. The Hawks have existed since the days of the old National Basketball League moving from Iowa to Milwaukee, St. Louis, and then Atlanta. They’ve exchanged ownership a few different times and have their shares bought by multiple individuals, one of the latest of whom was Bruce Levenson.
Levenson is not only a basketball lover, but has had many successful business startups. He’s best known for Unified Communications Group, a company that started as a small business venture while he was working for the Washington Star, but business started booming as his well-researched articles started gaining popularity. His work in oil industry trends has been a tremendous benefit both to businesses and consumers, that UCG has developed an app called GasBuddy that helps people find the nearest cheapest gas prices.
Levenson first started entering the basketball ownership stakes in 2004, when the Hawks were purchased by the Atlanta Spirit LLC and Levenson was granted some of the shares. Levenson also owned a stake of the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers for about 7 years, until he relinquished them and they became the Winnipeg Jets. The Hawks didn’t see immediate success under the Levenson regime, but he hired Danny Ferry to be the general manager, in which the Hawks started turning their fortunes around and ultimately led to this last season’s success. While Levenson is proud of the time he spent as Hawks owner, late in 2014 he and the other owners of Atlanta Spirit sold their shares.
This last spring, Tony Ressler finally made the purchase after it passed through several other different offers. Also joining in on the stake was Grant Hill, who had previously tried to purchase a share with another partnership that was just outbid, but Ressler welcomed Hill along with Jesse Itzler and his wife Sara Blakely. Even though Levenson’s shares were sold higher than the original purchase price, the end price was still not as high as the one that the banks had originally projected for the resale value.
Though he left the Hawks, Levenson still sponsors philanthropic basketball-related activities and academic endeavors. He’s also undertaken some personal adventures such as camping out in Antarctica.