A former NBA star and the co-owner of English Premier League club Swansea City are part of the new ownership group of the New Zealand Breakers, announced today.
Long time club owners and directors Paul and Liz Blackwell today announced that a newly formed company, Breakers Basketball Ltd, will take control of the club from March 1, on the eve of the club's eight appearance in 11 years in the NBL semifinals.
The consortium is headed by former NBA player Matt Walsh, along with business partners Adam Goodman, Romie Chaudhari and NBA All-Star Shawn Marion.
The ownership group also consists of a trio of podcasters, with the co-hosts of the popular "Pardon My Take" involved in the takeover. That includes popular satirist PFT Commenter, who will surely look forward to asking whether Tom Abercrombie is elite.
Marion is the biggest name of the group, having played 16 seasons in the NBA and was named an All-Star four times. He won the NBA title with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011 when they stunned the Miami Heat 4-2 in the finals.
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Chaudhari is a part-owner and director of EPL club Swansea City, with Walsh also a shareholder of the Welsh EPL club.
Walsh will take a hands-on role in leading the club into the next phase of its development, with a strong focus on the commercial activities of the four-time championship winning club. He will relocate from the United States to work out of the club's Auckland headquarters.
Walsh was signed by NBA team Miami in 2005, playing two games before heading to Europe where he enjoyed a successful 10-year playing career that delivered championships in some of the top leagues in the region, including Germany, Turkey and Belgium.
Since retiring in 2015, Walsh has turned his hand to business with a focus on sports club ownership, holding interests in Swansea City in the EPL and second division team Loudoun United.
Walsh and his cohort of business partners have for some time been looking at basketball opportunities in the Australian League, and like what they see in the Breakers on and off court.
"We were attracted to the club for a number of reasons, they clearly know how to win on the court, with eight playoff appearances in the last 11 years, five grand finals and four championships," said Walsh.
"But our main interest was in the amazing culture that the Blackwells and others have built over that time, combined with the growth of basketball in New Zealand and being located in the world-class city of Auckland."
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Walsh says the focus for the future is about growing the commercial side of the business, at a time when the NBL is growing and gaining in reputation.
"As far as we are concerned we see little to improve on the basketball side of things, but our collective experience and sports ownership background will allow us to add exponentially to the commercial side of the business while building on the already strong foundations and values at the club."
'Breakers Basketball' – new club owners
•Matthew Walsh - Former NBA and European Basketball player for ten years. Minority owner of Swansea City and Principal at Lewaver Acquisitions.
•Adam Goodman - Partner at Goodman Properties
•Romie Chaudhari - CEO and Managing Principal at Chiron Investments. Owner and Board member of Swansea City
•Dan Katz, Henry Lockwood, and PFT Commenter of number one sports podcast on iTunes, Pardon My Take presented by Barstool Sports
•Shawn Marion - NBA Champion and future hall of famer
•Paul and Liz Blackwell, former majority owners of the Breakers