Thursday, December 19, 2002

The National Basketball Association yesterday awarded its next expansion franchise to Robert L. Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television, making him the first African-American to become the principal owner of a major professional sports team. Mr. Johnson will pay a $300 million expansion fee for the new franchise in Charlotte, N.C., which will begin play in the 2004-5 season.

Sports Illustrated: Whether he likes it or not, Johnson is officially now a pioneer. According to the Sports Business Journal, he would be the only black majority owner among the 120 or so teams that make up the four major pro sports. Considering the large percentage of minority athletes in those sports, it's rather striking.

Golf clubs don't hurt people, people do: Gun maker Smith&Wesson will put its name on a line of golf clubs, adding to a non-ballistic repertoire that already includes golf umbrellas and tees. As this columnist points out, it gives a whole new meaning to asking "What'd you shoot?"

-Refining Title IX:

Sports Beat: Who would have thought there's a "D" in "Dallas"? The Mavericks have become the NBA's new defense department (except, said USA Today on Tuesday, for the Bad Boys-ish Indiana Pacers):

Parity in the AFC, puke-rity in the NFC: 13 of 16 AFC teams have 7, 8, or 9 wins; 4 NFC teams do. 9 NFC teams have 3,4,5, or 6 wins.

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