The New York Post is reporting that Ulysses “Junior” Bridgeman, former NBA player with the Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers and featured on the Black Enterprise BE 100s list of the national largest Black businesses, may be acquiring Sports Illustrated.
The Post is reporting that the former NBA star is closing in on a deal to buy the sports-oriented magazine from Meredith. If a deal comes to pass, Bridgeman will have beaten out a group headed by Joshua Pollack that includes Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, motivational speaker Tony Robbins and Hollywood producer Peter Guber, who is a part-owner of the Golden State Warriors. Bridgeman was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers and was traded to Milwaukee in a package deal prior to the start of the 1975 season that brought Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to the Lakers. He played 12 seasons with the Bucks and two years for the Clippers.
Bridgeman is the founder and former CEO of Manna Inc. Based in Louisville, Ky., the quick-service restaurants holding company earned revenue of $511 million in 2010. His company has been a fixture on Black Enterprise’s BE 100s listing of the country’s most successful Black businesses. He has also been listed as one of the top 20 Richest Black Americans by Forbes magazine. Since that time, his son has taken over at Manna Inc. The company operates 160 Wendy’s Restaurants in five states and 103 Chili’s Restaurants in seven states.
In addition to multiple Hall of Fame honors as a basketball standout, including induction into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, Bridgeman has earned numerous awards as a business leader, including Wendy’s Founder’s Award and induction into the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame. If the purchase is completed, Bridgeman is set to join an elite set of Black media moguls that includes Oprah Winfrey; Shea Moisture founder Richelieu Dennis, who bought Essence Communication for Time Inc.; and Byron Allen, who acquired the Weather Channel into his media empire. The New York Post reported also that Meredith turned down an offer of $375 million from the company that owns the National Enquirer for four of its properties.