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Meruelo has agreement to buy Hawks

Tue., Aug. 9, 2011

NBA: An emotional Alex Meruelo had to fight back tears as he talked about what it to means to be the NBA’s first Hispanic team owner.

His voice cracked as he talked about having dreamed of this day.

“I think we all do as boys – that I would one day play in the NBA,” said Meruelo, a California developer and pizza chain owner.

Meruelo, the son of Cuban immigrants, vowed to do everything he can to bring a championship to Atlanta if his deal to become the majority owner of the Hawks is approved by the NBA.

He became emotional again when he slipped on a red Hawks cap.

“I wasn’t quite fast enough, tall enough or quick enough, so those dreams didn’t quite get me that far,” he said. “But those dreams brought me the burning desire to be involved in the NBA. It’s something I’ve always wanted my entire life to somehow be a part of the NBA.”

Meruelo, 48, will have controlling interest of more than 50 percent of the Hawks, who will remain in Atlanta. The deal also includes operating rights to Philips Arena.

Citing the NBA lockout, Meruelo would not discuss details of the agreement, including the purchase price.

He confirmed members of the current ownership group, including majority owners Bruce Levenson and Michael Gearon Jr., would retain minority shares “for a period of time.”

Meruelo said “it’s a privilege and I’m honored” to be the league’s first Hispanic majority owner.

“I think the common theme is I look for opportunities,” he said. “In this case, it’s really a dual thing, the opportunity and the love of the sport that brought me so close to this. … I would say I’m a very hands-on individual. I’m very tied in to every business I’m involved with. I will do no different here.”

Conditions force Nyad to end swim

Swimming: A Twitter feed for marathon swimmer Diane Nyad late Monday nights said she has ended her attempt at a record-setting swim from Cuba to Florida after 29 hours.

Elaine Lafferty, who is on the boat according to Nyad’s blog, posted on Twitter: “It’s over.” Lafferty says “the combination of factors was too much to safely continue.”

Lafferty said heavy winds were part of the reason the 61-year-old stopped the 103-mile journey.

Earlier Monday, Nyad’s team had reported she was making good headway through the Florida Straits despite some physical complaints.

Nyad had hoped to end her swim at the Southernmost Point in Key West.

Paterno injured in collision at practice

College Football: Joe Paterno was hospitalized and undergoing tests on his right arm and hip after a player ran into the 84-year-old coach during practice.

Paterno was admitted Sunday evening to Mount Nittany Medical Center after he walked away from the collision with a receiver, the school said.

Dr. Wayne Sebastianelli, Penn State director of athletic medicine, said it doesn’t appear surgery will be required. Paterno is entering his 46th season at Penn State.

NCAA presidents will discuss policy

Miscellany: Mark Emmert is tired of tweaking the NCAA rulebook.

He wants an overhaul.

More than 60 university presidents and administrators are scheduled to meet with Emmert today and Wednesday in Indianapolis, a debate that could include everything from deregulation to scholarship funding to keeping integrity in college sports.

Critics contend it’s about time because under the current format, the NCAA cannot keep up with all the scandals tainting college sports.

• Ducks’ Carlyle agrees to contract extension: Coach Randy Carlyle has agreed to a new three-year contract extension with the Anaheim Ducks.

The deal announced keeps Carlyle under contract through the 2013-14 season. Carlyle’s old contract expired after the upcoming season, but that deal was reworked.

Carlyle has coached the Ducks since August 2005, and he led the club to its only Stanley Cup championship in 2007.

• West Ham’s League Cup game postponed after riots: West Ham says its League Cup opener against Aldershot has been postponed because police are calling off “all major public events” as violence continued for a third day in London.

The game was set to be played Tuesday but the League Championship club said it had been asked by police to move it to a later date.

West Ham said it was “told that all major public events in London were to be rearranged because of the need to focus police resources elsewhere.”

Rioting and looting sparked by a police shooting spread across London for a third straight day on Monday.

• Mother of Hendrick Motorsports owner dead: Mary Hendrick, mother of Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, died. She was 88.

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