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Barry Ackerley purchases Seattle SuperSonics in October 1983.

HistoryLink.org Essay 3064 : Printer-Friendly Format

In October 1983, Seattle SuperSonics owner Sam Schulman agrees to sell Seattle’s NBA (National Basketball Association) franchise to Barry Ackerley, a billboard magnate originally from Des Moines, Iowa. The sales price is reported to be $22 million.

Ackerley had moved his business to Seattle in 1975 and immediately ruffled local feathers when his company illegally pruned a couple hundred trees to make way for better billboard viewing. Eventually, however, Barry and wife Ginger became appreciated members of the community, and some of its more generous -- since 1987, the Ackerleys have donated more than $100 million to dozens of local organizations, including Seattle Art Museum and the Pacific Science Center.

Sources:
(www.supersonics.com); Seattle SuperSonics 1999-2000 Media Guide ed. by Marc Moquin (Seattle: Full House Sports & Entertainment, 1999); Robert L. Jamieson Jr., "Sonics Boss Signs Out," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, January 12, 2001 (http://Seattlep-i.com).


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