[KIKE] Donald Sterling II? NBA [KIKE] owner to sell Atlanta Hawks after racist email emerges of his complaints about too many black cheerleaders and white fans 'being scared away'

[KIKE] Bruce Levenson wrote racially charged email two years ago

Claimed the email was 'to bridge Atlanta's racial sports divide'

Instead blamed poor black fans for keeping white fans away from arena

NBA Commissioner [KIKE] Adam Silver said he supported [KIKE] Levenson walking away

By Associated Press

Daily Mail, 7 September 2014 | Updated: 8 September 2014

Less than one month after the Clippers' sale ended [KIKE] Donald Sterling's ugly downfall, another NBA team is on the market following a racially charged disclosure from its [KIKE] owner.

Atlanta Hawks co-owner [KIKE] Bruce Levenson said Sunday he is selling his controlling interest in the team, thanks in part to an inflammatory email he wrote two years ago.

[KIKE] Levenson said he wrote the email in an attempt 'to bridge Atlanta's racial sports divide.' Instead, he offered his divisive comments, including his theory that Hawks black fans kept white fans away.

[KIKE] Levenson said he regrets the email sent to the team's co-owners and general manager Danny Ferry in 2012 as 'inappropriate and offensive.' In a statement released by the team, [KIKE] Levenson said he sent the email due to his concerns about low attendance and a need to attract suburban whites.

He says he later realized the email made it seem white fans were more important. He voluntarily reported the email to the NBA.

'I have said repeatedly that the NBA should have zero tolerance for racism, and I strongly believe that to be true,' [KIKE] Levenson said in the statement. 'That is why I voluntarily reported my inappropriate email to the NBA.

'After much long and difficult contemplation, I have decided that it is in the best interests of the team, the Atlanta community, and the NBA to sell my controlling interest in the Hawks franchise.'

NBA Commissioner [KIKE] Adam Silver said Sunday the league will work with the Hawks' ownership group and CEO [KIKE] Steve Koonin, who now will oversee all team operations.

[Photo: Famous friends: Atlanta Hawks ownership partner [KIKE] Bruce Levenson, left, talks with actors Vince Vaughn, center, and [KIKE] Ben Stiller during an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in 2012]

[KIKE] Silver said the league's independent investigation 'regarding the circumstances of Mr. [KIKE] Levenson's comments' in the email was ongoing when he was told Saturday night of [KIKE] Levenson's plan to sell his share of the team.

[KIKE] Silver said he supported [KIKE] Levenson's decision.

'As Mr. [KIKE] Levenson acknowledged, the views he expressed are entirely unacceptable and are in stark contrast to the core principles of the National Basketball Association,' [KIKE] Silver said. '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.

'I commend [KIKE] 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.'

[KIKE] Sterling was forced to sell the Los Angeles Clippers after a recording surfaced in April of the owner scolding his girlfriend for bringing black men to Clippers games. [KIKE] Steve Ballmer officially became the team's new owner on August 12.

In the email sent in August 2012, [KIKE] Levenson said 'southern whites' were uncomfortable at games.

'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,' [KIKE] Levenson said in the email released Sunday by the Hawks.

'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.'

[KIKE] Levenson said Hawks crowds were 70 percent black, the team's cheerleaders were black and hip-hop music was played.

[Photo: Change in ownership for Atlanta Hawks: NBA Commissioner [KIKE] Adam Silver said Sunday the league will work with the Hawks' ownership group and CEO [KIKE] Steve Koonin, who now will oversee all team operations.]

In July, [KIKE] Sterling sold his stake in the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO [KIKE] Steve Ballmer for $2 billion

'Then I start looking around at other arenas,' [KIKE] Levenson said. 'It is completely different.'

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Atlanta's population was 54 percent black and 38.4-percent white in 2010. For metro Atlanta, the ratio is 55.4 percent white and 32.4 percent black.

[KIKE] Levenson said he often heard fans say the area around Philips Arena in downtown Atlanta is dangerous.

'This was just racist garbage,' [KIKE] Levenson said. 'When I hear some people saying the arena is in the wrong place I think it is code for there are too many blacks at the games.'


From: [KIKE] Bruce Levenson

To: Ferry, Danny

CC: Foreman, Todd (; [KIKE] Peskowitz, Ed (

Sent: 8/25/2012 11:47:02 PM

Subject: Re: Business/Game ops

1. from day one i have been impressed with the friendliness and professionalism of the arena staff — food vendors, ushers, ticket takers, etc. in our early years when i would bring folks from dc they were blown away by the contrast between abe pollin's arena and philips. some of this is attributable to southern hospital and manners but bob and his staff do a good job of training. To this day, I can not get the ushers to call me Bruce yet they insist on me calling them by their first names.

2. the non-premium area food is better than most arenas, though that is not saying much. i think there is room for improvement and creativity. [KIKE] Levy is our food vendor so we don't have much control but they have been good partners. i have wished we had some inconic offereing like boog's barbeque at the baseball stadium in balt.

3. our new restaurant, red, just opened so too early for me to give you my thoughts.

4. Regarding game ops, i need to start with some background. for the first couple of years we owned the team, i didn't much focus on game ops. then one day a light bulb went off. when digging into why our season ticket base is so small, i was told it is because we can't get 35-55 white males and corporations to buy season tixs and they are the primary demo for season tickets around the league. when i pushed further, folks generally shrugged their shoulders. then i start looking around our arena during games and notice the following:

— it's 70 pct black

— the cheerleaders are black

— the music is hip hop

— at the bars it's 90 pct black

— there are few fathers and sons at the games

— we are doing after game concerts to attract more fans and the concerts are either hip hop or gospel.

Then i start looking around at other arenas. It is completely different. Even DC with its affluent black community never has more than 15 pct black audience.

Before we bought the hawks and for those couple years immediately after in an effort to make the arena look full (at the nba's urging) thousands and thousands of tickets were being giving away, predominantly in the black community, adding to the overwhelming black audience.

My theory is that the black crowd scared away the whites and there are simply not enough affluent black fans to build a signficant season ticket base. Please dont get me wrong. There was nothing threatening going on in the arean 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. On fan sites i would read comments about how dangerous it is around philips yet in our 9 years, i don't know of a mugging or even a pick pocket incident. This was just racist garbage. When I hear some people saying the arena is in the wrong place I think it is code for there are too many blacks at the games.

I have been open with our executive team about these concerns. I have told them I want some white cheerleaders and while i don't care what the color of the artist is, i want the music to be music familiar to a 40 year old white guy if that's our season tixs demo. i have also balked when every fan picked out of crowd to shoot shots in some time out contest is black. I have even bitched that the kiss cam is too black.

Gradually things have changed. My unscientific guess is that our crowd is 40 pct black now, still four to five times all other teams. And my further guess is that 40 pct still feels like 70 pet to some whites at our games. Our bars are still overwhelmingly black.

This is obviously a sensitive topic, but sadly i think it is far and way the number one reason our season ticket base is so low.

And many of our black fans don't have the spendable income which explains why our f&b and merchandise sales are so low. At all white thrasher games sales were nearly triple what they are at hawks games (the extra intermission explains some of that but not all).

Regardless of what time a game starts, we have the latest arriving crowd in the league. It often looks and sounds empty when the team takes the floor.

In the past two years, we have created a section of rowdy college students that has been a big plus. And we do a lot of very clever stuff during time outs to entertain the crowd. Our kiss cam is better done than any in the league.

We have all the same halftime acts that other arenas have but i question whether they make sense. people are on their cell phones during half time. i wonder if flashing on the scoreboard "$2 off on hot dogs during halftime tonight" just as the half ends would be a better use of our halftime dollars and make the fans happier.

We do all the usual giveways and the fans are usually their loudest when our spirit crew takes the floor to give away t-shirts. It pisses me off that they will yell louder for a t-shirt then for our players.

Our player intro is flat. We manufacture a lot of noise but because of the late arriving crowd and the fact that a lot of blacks dont seem to go as crazy cheering (another one of my theories) as whites, it is not great. Even when we have just returned from winnng four straight on the road, i am one of the few people in the arena standing and cheering when our team takes the floor. Bob has kicked around ideas like having the starters coming down aisles rather than off the bench during intros. Sounds cool but may highlight all the empty seats at the start of games.

Not enough of our fans wear hawks jerseys to games. i have just begun to push for ideas like discount food lines for folks wearing jerseys, special entrances, etc. I think we need a committed and perhaps incentivized fan club. We need to realize atl is simply different than every other city. Just adopting nba best practices is not enough. we have to create our own.

I am rambling and could probably go on forever. If you have any specific areas you would like my thoughts on, let me know.


[KIKE] Bruce

ps — I have cc'd todd and [KIKE] ed so they can chime in with additional or different thoughts.

Sent from my iPad

Though he said he disagreed with the conclusion, he said he told team executives to add white cheerleaders and music 'familiar to a 40-year-old white guy.'

Added [KIKE] Levenson in the email: 'I have even (complained) that the kiss cam is too black.'

Atlanta mayor [NIGGER] Kasim Reed said the comments in Levenson's email were 'reprehensible and offensive.'

'The statements do not represent the city of Atlanta's history of diversity and inclusion, and we will be clear and deliberate in denouncing and repudiating them,' [NIGGER] Reed said. 'I applaud the NBA's efforts to enforce a no-tolerance policy of discrimination. As a city, we will continue to stand behind the Atlanta Hawks organization as they work to find new ownership that reflects the values and ideals of a city that is too busy to hate.'

The Rev. [NIGGER] Al Sharpton released a statement encouraging [KIKE] Silver 'to continue vetting all owners.'

'The announcement by [KIKE] Bruce Levenson is welcomed and appropriate by those of us in the civil rights community, that raised the issue of [KIKE] Donald Sterling's need to be removed, and that other owners must be held accountable,' [NIGGER] Sharpton said.

Though the NBA investigation of the email was ongoing, [KIKE] Levenson apparently concluded he couldn't continue in his ownership role.

'If you're angry about what I wrote, you should be,' [KIKE] Levenson said in Sunday's statement. 'I'm angry at myself, too. It was inflammatory nonsense. We all may have subtle biases and preconceptions when it comes to race, but my role as a leader is to challenge them, not to validate or accommodate those who might hold them.'

This is not [KIKE] Levenson's first effort to sell the team. In 2011, the Hawks' ownership group, headed by [KIKE] Levenson and Michael Gearon Jr., made an unsuccessful attempt to sell to California developer and pizza chain owner Alex Meruelo.

The group acquired the Hawks and the NHL Thrashers from Time Warner in 2004. The Thrashers were sold and moved to Winnipeg in 2011.

Jewish Voice >> Lifestyle >> Sports >> NBA

NBA Team Visits Holocaust Museum

By Aron Nafisi, the Jewish voice - "MAY THE EARTH HEAR THE WORDS OF MY MOUTH" - 05 May 2014

[Photo: The Atlanta Hawks basketball team took what was described as a “surreal” visit to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum]

Atlanta Hawks rookie head coach Mike Budenholzer started planning a team trip to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum shortly after he was hired last year, unaware that team co-owner Bruce Levenson is a big supporter of the museum.

Levenson and business partner Ed Peskowitz help fund the museum's youth outreach program. Program participants served as tour guides on Friday when the Hawks toured the site, according to USA Today, The Hawks made the stop while in Washington, D.C., to play the Wizards last week. The trip, which Hawks power forward Elton Brand described as “powerful experience” and Hawks center Al Horford said was “life-changing”, was made even more meaningful by the presence of Levenson's mother-in-law, Irene Boyarsky, 85, who is a concentration camp survivor, USA Today reported.

Levenson and his wife, Karen, also joined the tour, as did other coaches and staffers, including Hall of Famer and team vice president Dominique Wilkins. Budenholzer, has been to the museum multiple times, both with the Spurs as an assistant coach and on his own, said he knows how powerful the museum can be. Budenholzer explained why it was important to him that the team visits the site.

Before the tour started, Levenson addressed the team, introduced Boyarsky, and played a short clip of her talking in a video recorded in 1998 for the University of Southern California's Shoah Foundation Institute's visual history archive. In the 2-hour, 36-minute, 11-second video, Boyarsky detailed her experience from her time in a Jewish ghetto in Hungary to a concentration camp in Austria to her liberation to her life in the U.S. In the video, Boyarsky, who lost two brothers but reunited with her parents, said, "Hitler did not succeed."

Levenson and business partner Ed Peskowitz help fund the museum's youth outreach program, and products of that program served as tour guides for the Hawks. The Hawks went through the entire museum, pausing at key exhibits such as "The Tower of Faces," depicting Jewish families from a European village, and "Shoes," a collection of 4,000 shoes from victims. "I think everyone should come here because of the lessons this place teaches and the lessons all of us have to learn," Levenson said. "Having them come here and having them see the faces of bigotry and hate, it's important. For them to learn lessons of this museum and of the Holocaust means a lot to me."

Hawks players, coaches and staffers, including Hall of Famer and team vice president Dominique Wilkins, came along, and the Hawks joined a handful of teams, including the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs, who have toured the museum. Heat guard Ray Allen had been multiple times with teams and by himself.

At the start of the tour, Coach Mike Budenholzer told his players that the day was not a time for basketball but rather a time to grow together as a team. Budenholzer also said the experience of touring the Holocaust exhibits will help them grow as men. "We want individuals who care about what's going on or what's happened in the world besides just basketball,” Budenholzer said. “We learn from history and we learn from what's going on today and hopefully in some small way we can make sure things like that never happen again. We also want to be a group that cares about one another." The Hawks have been sinking lately and find themselves currently in the 9th seed, 1 spot out of the playoffs.

Steve Koonin Named as CEO of the Atlanta Hawks

Jewish Business News, Apr 16th, 2014

Steve Koonin former president of Turner Entertainment Networks has joined the perennial NBA underdogs Atlanta Hawks as their new chief executive officer.

According to a statement issued by the Hawks, Steve Koonin’s role, a new one for the team, will be to represent the owners as the head of the organization at NBA functions, oversee all business, financial and strategic operations of the Hawks as well as the Philips Arena, where they play.

Announcing the appointment in a press release, Bruce Levenson, majority owner of the Hawks stated that Steve Koonin’s reputation as a game changer in both marketing and media makes him the ideal leader to usher the Atlanta Hawks into a new era. “He has created a legacy as an expert in sports marketing, television, branding and digital media.” Summed up Levenson in his statement.

Confirming that he will be leaving the Turner Group after more than a decade to join the Hawks, Steve Koonin first hastened to point out that his family has been a part of this city for nearly a century, going on to add that he was aware that he had lot to do to restore the team’s fortunes.

“ I believe my professional experience, my passion for this team and the NBA, as well as the Hawks’ great existing executive talent make this organization’s future very bright.” Koonin went on to predict.

Koonin’s addition to the team ownership roster at the Hawks has already earned the seal of approval at the NBA, with commissioner Adam Silver issuing a statement confirming that he was “thrilled” with Steve Koonin’s involvement.

Hopes are in Atlanta that Steve Koonin, one of the Georgia city’s best known business and community leaders, many years of marketing experience at a national level will soon make itself felt at the Phillips Stadium, where the Hawks have succeeded in averaging crowds of just 14,400 a game, the third lowest average of all of the 30 NBA teams. On court, the statistics are not a lot better, with the team struggling to achieve the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs, despite a sub 500 record.

Steve Koonin will be looking to provide support for Danny Ferry, President of Basketball Operations and General Manager since 2012, along with recently appointed head coach Mike Budenholzer to bring some serious new talent to the team,

Steve Koonin graduated with a degree in marketing from the University of Georgia.

Koonin began his professional career with Coca-Cola, where he spent 14 years before joining Turner Entertainment Networks in 2000, holding down a number of top level executive positions with the media giant.

Koonin also sits on the boards of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, the Fox Theatre, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra as well as being a trustee of the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta.

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