New Atlanta Hawks owner Alex Murelo was unveiled at a Monday afternoon press conference at Philips Arena. He answered questions for about 15 minutes before bowing and thanking the assembled media for introducing him. The theme of his message: earning Atlanta's respect.
Meruelo didn't appear entirely comfortable, but he's new at this. At one point he exhaled and laughed when promised "an easy question." With a red Hawks hat on his head and a face that appeared sweaty, the new owner touted the success the team has enjoyed for the past four years, but insisted he's committed to spending "as much time as is needed" to build a championship team in Atlanta.
There was lots of culinary laughter! When asked whether he'd bring his restaurant chains to Atlanta, he laughed. He also laughed when asked to share a secret that his many background checkers have yet to turn up. He answered with, "I love dessert."
Hey, I love dessert too! Who hates dessert? Go Hawks.
He wasn't able to talk about anything of much substance, due to the ongoing NBA lockout, but dessert is really awesome.
On retaining Atlanta Spirit Group members as minority owners, he said they would remain a part of the franchise for some time. He described his primary plan for Philips Arena as adding a NBA championship banner. He also reiterated that he was never interested in the Thrashers, saying he has "one priority, and that's basketball."
It wasn't perfect, but it seems like he cares about what he's getting into. Cut him a break, y'all. For a long time Hawks owners have been able to take turns answering questions. Or just duck questions entirely. Or openly plead with reporters for someone to buy their NHL team. It's a start, and we're off and running straight into the lockout.
Now let's go get some dessert.
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