Former NBA forward Ulysses “Junior” Bridgeman is the new owner of legacy Black media company Ebony after bidding $14 million for it in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
His company, Bridgeman Sports and Media, was announced as the successful bidder for Ebony Media’s assets by a Houston bankruptcy court in December.
With the purchase, Bridgeman becomes the latest athlete with ownership in a media company.
- Former MLB star Derek Jeter founded The Players’ Tribune in 2014.
- Spanish soccer player David Villa founded soccer content production company Designated Player in 2018.
- LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Steph Curry are among the handful of NBA players who have their own production companies.
Despite Ebony’s recent financial woes — it defaulted on more than $10 million in loans in July — Bridgeman believes he can return it to both profitability and a place of prominence in American culture with “the right ideas and the right execution.” The monthly lifestyle magazine launched in 1945.
Bridgeman, 67, has flourished as a businessman since retiring in 1987.
- He once owned more than 240 restaurant franchises, making him the second-largest franchise owner in the U.S., employing 18,000 people.
- He sold his restaurant interests and in 2017 launched Heartland Coca-Cola Bottling Co.
- He briefly owned a minority stake in the Sacramento Kings.
In late 2018, Bridgeman and a group of investors were considered the leading contenders to buy Sports Illustrated from Meredith Corp., but dropped the efforts in early 2019 when now-owner Authentic Brands Group made a $110 million bid.
Bridgeman’s net worth is estimated to be around $600 million.