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Atlanta Hawks Owner

T.I. vs. Usher

If I Had to Choose One Ambassador

11/3/2014 4:30 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Atlanta Hawks Owner TI The new Atlanta Hawks owner could be in a very tough spot ... having to pick one hip hop spokesman for his team out of all the music superstars in A-Town -- and he's not looking forward to settling the matter.

We tried to nail down John Rutherford Seydel II on whether he's going to follow the lead of the Raptors and Wizards -- which recently enlisted Drake and Wale as respective spokesmen for their hometown squads.

Seydel gave T.I. props for performing on the Hawks' opening night, but also mentioned he has ties to Usher. Throw in Jermaine Dupri, Rich Homie Quan, Ying Yang Twins, and Wocka Flocka Flame -- to name just a few -- and Sydel would have an impossible decision.

Watch the clip ... he's obviously torn, and afraid to piss off anyone.

ATL Rapper Killer Mike

Hawks Owner's NOT A Racist

... He's A Businessman

9/14/2014 12:45 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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ATL Hawks owner Bruce Levenson is being UNFAIRLY labeled a racist over his now infamous email -- so says ATL rapper Killer Mike who tells TMZ Sports the only color on BL's mind was GREEN! 

The email (from 2012) went viral last weekend -- and in it, Levenson explained that the high percentage of black people at his games was scaring off rich white people. 

Mike, who's signed to T.I.'s Grand Hustle label, says there's NOTHING WRONG with making those observations. 

"It's not remotely racist at all. What I read was a business man trying to fill up his seats with the demographic that spends the most money."

Mike adds, "I own a barber shop. I make it a point for people to know I cut white people's hair. If white people 30 to 55 aren't coming to Hawks games, you have to do whatever you need to do to get them there."

Mike does admit that the email was "crass" -- but he thinks people should stop being so quick to throw that word "racist" around.

"We should save that outrage for a time when it's really warranted."

Al Sharpton

MEETS WITH NBA

Over Handling of Racist ATL Hawks Owner

9/12/2014 7:04 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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Al Sharpton tells TMZ Sports ... he's been a part of discussions with NBA Commish Adam Silver on how to handle the situation with racist Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson

Sharpton -- who previously sat down with Adam Silver in the middle of the Donald Sterling crisis -- tells us, "In the discussions we've been having with the Commissioner, they said they were gonna vet everyone out [before allowing a sale of the team]."

The Rev says, "We challenge the NBA Commissioner Silver and others to not just go from one billionaire to another without opening up the diversity of ownership in the NBA." 

"We only have one team. Michael Jordan owned by a black [Charlotte Bobcats] ... yet look at the percentage of players that are black."

Of course, Levenson just announced he would be selling the Hawks over a super racist email he wrote in 2012 -- complaining about too many black people at his games. 

Dominique Wilkins

Gunning to Buy Atlanta Hawks

9/10/2014 12:45 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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With racist-ass racist Bruce Levenson on the outs ... TMZ Sports has learned NBA legend Dominique Wilkins is actively trying to become the next owner of the Atlanta Hawks. 

Multiple NBA sources tell us ... Dominique is "extremely interested" in becoming the next owner of the Hawks -- and has already been pre-approved for ownership by the NBA. 

We're told Wilkins -- who has amassed his own small fortune over the years -- has partnered up with a "very well-known businessman" who believes Wilkins would be the best person to lead the Hawks back to NBA glory. 

Of course, Levenson recently tendered his letter of resignation as current Hawks owner after an incredibly racist email he wrote back in 2012 came to light ... in which he complained that too many black people were attending his games. 

Wilkins played for the Hawks for 12 years during his NBA career ... and was a 9-time All Star ... and they still LOVE him in the ATL.

So far, it's unclear who else is in the hunt for the team -- but ya gotta figure Wilkins is the local favorite.

Atlanta Hawks Owner

I Pulled a Donald Sterling

Outs Himself for Super Racist Email

9/7/2014 10:15 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

0907-bruce-levenson-getty-01Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson abruptly announced he's selling the team because he's guilty of sending an email so racist ... it would make Donald Sterling cringe.

Levenson admits he sent the email to team execs back in 2012, urging them to get more suburban white fans at games. He then laid out all the problems with the current fan base, listing 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
- the concerts [after games] are either hip hop or gospel

Levenson continued in the email ... "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." He also complained that he's told team execs, "I want some white cheerleaders ... I have even bitched that the kiss cam is too black."

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says Levenson copped to the email in July -- about 2 months after Donald Sterling was banned -- and immediately informed the league he would sell the team.

Levenson apologized to fans in a statement, saying ... "If you're angry about what I wrote, you should be. I'm angry at myself too."

ATL Hawks Head Coach

FIGHTING DUI ARREST

I Was Not Driving Drunk

8/29/2013 10:24 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

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Atlanta Hawks head coach Michael Budenholzer says he was NOT driving drunk when he was arrested for DUI last night ... and says he has some semi-convincing proof to back his claim.

Budenholzer was arrested in Atlanta around 10:30 PM Wednesday night ... after a Georgia State Trooper noticed the NBA coach's car had a broken taillight.

During the stop, cops say they noticed a strong odor of alcohol on Budenholzer's breath -- and asked him to submit to various field sobriety tests, including a breathalyzer.

According to the incident report, obtained by TMZ, MB agreed to everything BUT the breathalyzer ... and then proceeded to perform poorly during the other field sobriety tests. 

During the arrest, Budenholzer reportedly admitted to having consumed 1 glass of wine earlier in the evening.  He was arrested and hauled to a nearby jail.

Budenholzer was eventually released from custody around 3:45 AM this morning (5 HOURS after the initial arrest)  ... and his lawyer says the coach went directly to a local hospital where a blood test revealed his B.A.C. was less than .01. 

Budenholzer has since pled not guilty to DUI -- and released a statement saying, "I apologize to the fans and to the Hawks organization for any negative attention this incident has brought upon my family and the organization while the legal process evolves and I contest these misdemeanor charges."

Ice Cube

The Atlanta Hawks Are

DIRTY CHEATERS!

3/18/2013 4:00 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

031813_ice_cube_launchKobe Bryant is right ... Atlanta Hawks player Dahntay Jones is a dirty cheater who knew what he was doing when he hurt the Black Mamba on the court last week ... at least according to Lakers superfan Ice Cube.

Cube -- decked out in Lakers gear -- was at LAX this weekend when we asked the rap legend about Kobe's claim that Jones cheap-shotted him during a fadeaway jumper last week ... causing Bryant to injure his ankle.

"It's kinda whack when you gotta cheat to win," Cube said ... saying, "But [Kobe's] a champ, he'll come back. That ankle will be strong."

But we didn't just talk basketball with Cube -- the rapper gave us some thoughts on the new pope ... said one thing that MIGHT be considered a diss toward the old pope. Check out the clip.

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