By NBA.com staff reports
Posted Mar 23 2011 7:58PM
Former Seattle SuperSonics owner Barry Ackerley died early Monday morning after suffering a stroke. He was 76 years old.
"It is with great sadness that I learned today of the passing of my friend Barry Ackerley" NBA Commissioner David Stern said in a statement. "During Barry's 18-year ownership of the Seattle SuperSonics, he oversaw an extraordinary franchise that was seemingly always in the playoffs and often contending for an NBA championship. He was committed to building and maintaining a winning franchise and would settle for nothing less. On behalf of the NBA and its Board of Governors, I extend our condolences to Barry's wife Ginger, his sons Bill, Chris and Ted and his daughter Kim."
A successful businessman in media and billboard industries, Ackerley purchased the Sonics from Sam Schulman in 1983 and was integral in keeping the franchise in Seattle. During Ackerley's tenure as Sonics owner, the team made 13 playoff appearances, won four division titles and went to the 1996 NBA Finals.
Current Portland Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan played for the Sonics for his entire 12-year career and coached the team from 2000 to 2005.
"I feel very blessed to have known and worked for Barry Ackerley," McMillan said in a statement. "I'm eternally grateful for the opportunity he gave me to work in the NBA for 15 years. The thing I'll remember most about Barry was the passion he had for his players, team and community. I'm sadden to learn of his passing and my thoughts and prayers go out to Mrs. Ackerley, the Ackerley family and all those who knew and loved him."
Ackerley, a Des Moines, Iowa native, was one of the first sports owners to broadcast games on both radio and television stations that he owned. He also was the creator of the first all-sports talk radio station.
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