Bruce Levenson Sells Atlanta Hawks to Antony Ressler

Bruce Levenson has been the unseen hand behind most of the major moves for the Atlanta Hawks dating back to 2004. Levenson graduated from Washington University before going to law school at American University. Through his work with the United Communications Group he was able to raise his fortune and thus turn to his dream of buying an NBA team. In 2004, through the Atlanta Spirit LLC, Levenson was able to purchase the Hawks along with his friend and UCG co-founder Ed Peskowitz. Since then the Hawks have steadily grown into one of the more consistently solid teams in the NBA. Now Levenson is cashing out on his hard work and selling the team to billionaire Antony Ressler.

A History of Success
For Bruce Levenson, building the Atlanta Hawks has been a lesson in patiently attending to team needs. First and foremost the Hawks had long been struggling to find a franchise level player to build their team around, much less all the tertiary pieces needed to consistently compete for a realistic shot at the NBA Finals. In Levenson’s first draft he was the guiding hand behind the selection of athletic forward Josh Smith. To this date Smith has played 11 years in the NBA while averaging an impressive 15PPG and 6RPG. In 2007 we saw Levenson strike gold when selecting center Al Horford, a champion while at Florida, in the 1st round. Two years later the team would go on to select Jeff Teague and summarily round out the group that would create contenders out of Atlanta.

All of the aforementioned draft picks led up to the Hawks making a franchise record breaking regular season run during the 2014 – 15 season. Atlanta broke the 60 win mark, made it to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in 50 years, and made confident strides toward establishing themselves as annual contenders. The Hawks showed that they could deal with whatever any team threw at them despite falling to the LeBron James led Cavaliers.

Making the Sale
When the Los Angeles Clippers were sold to Steven Ballmer for that eye widening billion dollar number the entire NBA was changed. Not only were the Clips heading to new hands, but they were also re-establishing what it meant to have an NBA team. The value of NBA franchises all over the league skyrocketed overnight as the Clippers reset the value. Atlanta was initially estimated at around a $400 million value before the sale. Afterwards the Hawks would end up being sold to Antony Ressler for $850 million.

Antony Ressler led a group of buyers along with former NBA star Grant Hill in making the purchase. The group had initially been in the bidding for the Clippers before they were priced out of the competition. Getting the Atlanta Hawks as a second option, however, doesn’t seem to be that bad. Atlanta is just as ready to compete as L.A. and for only a fraction of the price. It remains to be seen how Ressler will do in his new position.

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