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Spurs first Black GM

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SAN ANTONIO (July 23, 2019) – Spurs Sports & Entertainment today announced that RC Buford has been named CEO of Spurs Sports & Entertainment, effective Sept. 3. The two-time NBA Executive of the Year has spent a total of 29 years with SS&E.

“RC Buford is one of the most highly-respected leaders in professional sports,” said SS&E Chairman Peter J. Holt. “His vision, innovation and drive have helped shape our values and culture. We are thrilled to have RC leading the organization into the future.”

Buford first joined the Silver and Black as an assistant coach on Larry Brown’s staff in 1988. He then spent one season with the Los Angeles Clippers and one season at the University of Florida before returning to San Antonio in 1994 as a member of then-Spurs General Manager Gregg Popovich’s staff.Buford was promoted to Spurs Director of Scouting in 1997 and took on the role of vice president and assistant general manager in 1999. Buford was named the Spurs General Manager in 2002 before being promoted to President of Sports Franchises in 2008.

In addition, SS&E announced that long-time top executives Rick Pych and Lawrence Payne have elected to transition into strategic advisory roles with the organization. The two leaders, with a combined 70 years of Spurs service, will remain heavily involved with various key projects and strategic planning at SS&E.

“Rick and LP have been instrumental in the success of the Spurs for many years,” said Holt. “Their passion, influence and leadership have allowed all of us to succeed. It’s impossible to list the numerous contributions they’ve made to the organization. All of us are grateful that we’ll be able to continue to tap into their knowledge and intelligence for years to come.”

Pych, who begins his 27th season with SS&E, has served as the organization’s president and co-CEO since 2016. He started with the organization as the team’s CFO in 1993. In 2000 he was named an executive vice president before assuming the role of president of business operations in 2008.

Payne, currently an executive vice president, is the longest tenured full-time employee in franchise history, starting with the Spurs in 1976 after receiving his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Texas at Austin.

At the same time, the organization has announced that Brian Wright has been promoted to Spurs General Manager while Lori Warren and Bobby Perez have been elevated to executive vice president roles. Warren and Perez will lead the business side of SS&E.

Wright, who will manage day-to-day basketball operations duties, spent 10 seasons working with the Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons before being named the Spurs Assistant General Manager in 2016.

Warren, who has been with the organization for 26 years, most recently served as SS&E’s senior vice president of corporate finance and brand strategy.

Perez, a San Antonio native, joined SS&E in 2013 as the organization’s senior vice president general counsel and corporate relations after spending 20 years at Shelton & Valadez P.C.

SS&E has grown to include 400-plus full-time employees and over 1,000 part-time staff. In addition to capturing five NBA Championships, the Spurs were named the top franchise in professional sports four times in ESPN’s annual fan survey. The SS&E family also includes the San Antonio Rampage (AHL), Austin Spurs (NBA G League), San Antonio FC (USL) and Silver & Black Give Back (501(c)(3)), as well as the AT&T Center, Toyota Field and the STAR Soccer Complex.

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Robert Smith could be 1st Black NFL Owner

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Robert Smith is a businessman and philanthropist who has had a very successful career in the financial industry. He has been interested in owning an NFL team for some time, but had not found the right opportunity.

The Denver Broncos are one of the most storied franchises in the NFL. They have won 6 Super Bowls and are currently valued at $2.6 billion, making them one of the most valuable franchise in football.

It should come as no surprise that a billionaire from Colorado has emerged as one of the possible bidders for the Broncos. An NFL success story, his efforts will make him the first black team owner in NFL history.

Smith would need to spend $1.2 billion, as the NFL requires primary owners to put up 30% in cash.

According to a Denver Gazette report, six groups are looking to buy the Broncos. One has former quarterback Peyton Manning and former president & general manager of the Broncos John Elway. Others include a group led by Ms. Brittany Bowlen – daughter of late owner Pat Bowlen.

The sale of the Broncos could go for more than $4 billion, making it the richest team sale in the history of American sports. If the team sells for $4 billion, Smith would need to spend $1.2 billion, as the NFL requires primary owners to put up 30% in cash.

Denver native Smith has pledged to pay off student debt acquired by 400-plus of the University’s graduates. He is currently the chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners which he founded in 2000.

Smith has an estimated net worth of $6.7 billion and is ranked as the richest Black person in America, according to Forbes. The Broncos have a current value of $3.75 billion, with room to grow to more than $4 billion if sold now.

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NBA Foundation Awards Westcare $200,000 Grant

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The NBA Foundation announced local organization WestCare Foundation as one of its newest grant recipients. On behalf of the Spurs, the NBA Foundation is awarding WestCare $200,000 to support the organization’s work in mentoring and preparing youth across San Antonio and Bexar County to reach their full potential. This is the first NBA Foundation grant awarded to a local San Antonio nonprofit.

Created in August 2020 to reduce the persistent racial wealth gap, the NBA Foundation has awarded $22 million to 78 national and local organizations. This is the fourth round of grants and is the most-awarded grant round to-date, totaling more than $11 million to 38 nonprofit organizations, including WestCare, that were chosen for their commitment to driving economic empowerment for Black youth.

“We applaud WestCare Foundation for their incredible work in helping to empower our next generation through programs that create meaningful and sustained change,” said Kara Allen, Chief Impact Officer for Spurs Sports and Entertainment (SS&E). “At SS&E, we believe in building leaders and legacies within our community and this partnership is an extension of that promise. We are excited to see the impact WestCare will have on local youth and their promising futures.”

WestCare empowers people in San Antonio and Bexar County to engage in a process of healing, growth, and change to benefit themselves, their families, coworkers and communities. The grant will specifically be used to strengthen WestCare’s “Project YES” program, which will provide youth ages 14 – 24 with mentorship opportunities, interpersonal skill-building and financial literacy opportunities. Project YES is a new program that focuses on serving hard to reach and underserved youth, who often lack access to health services. This program supports them in successfully transitioning from school to purposeful employment with the goal of helping them to achieve a healthy, safe and sustainable lifestyle.

“We are saying ‘YES’ to youth to expose them to life-changing opportunities and help them become the best at whatever they do,” said Beverly Watts Davis, Senior Vice President for Texas, WestCare Foundation. “These funds will also support collaborative community efforts that leverage multiple resources to provide comprehensive skills building and youth development services that address multiple risk factors and social determinants our youth face daily.”

The NBA Foundation’s mission is to provide skills training, mentorship, coaching and pipeline development for high school, college-aged, job-ready and mid-career individuals in Black communities across the United States and Canada. The NBA Foundation aligns with NBA teams and team-affiliated foundations to invest in partnerships that promote meaningful economic empowerment for Black youth in local markets. To learn more about the NBA Foundation or apply for a grant, please visit NBAFoundation.com or follow @NBAFoundation.

The full list of the 38 grantees and their efforts can be viewed here.

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Ime Udoka Lands Head Coach Position

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According to ESPN, the Associated Press, and other sources, retired NBA player and former assistant coach of the San Antonio Spurs, Ime Udoka is set to become the Boston Celtics new head coach and the first Nigerian-American head coach in the the NBA. During his time in the NBA Udoka played seven seasons with five different teams before retiring in 2012. Shortly after retirement he joined Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs where he served as an assistant coach for seven seasons, including the 2013-14 season when they won the NBA title. In 2019, Udoka was the assist coach for the Philadelphia 76ers and last season with the Brooklyn Nets. This upcoming season will be Udoka’s first shot as head coach in the NBA.

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