Junior Bridgeman Rumors
The Grant Hill and Junior Bridgeman-led group that had interest in buying the Atlanta Hawks has dropped out of the bidding process for the team, two people familiar with the process told USA TODAY Sports. They requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the negotiations.
Former National Basketball Association players Junior Bridgeman and Grant Hill are leading a group that will bid on the Atlanta Hawks, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation. They’ve hired New York-based advisory firm Galatioto Sports Partners to explore a purchase, said the person, who requested anonymity because the matter is private. Hill didn’t immediately return an e-mail seeking comment. Sal Galatioto, founder of Galatioto Sports Partners, declined to comment.
The Bucks are inching closer to adding several minority owners with Green Bay Packers superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers and former Bucks star Junior Bridgeman among those who have had discussions with Bucks co-owners Marc Lasry and Wes Edens. Craig Leipold, the Minnesota Wild owner from Racine, has been speculated as another possible minority owner although that isn’t likely to happen.
Ulysses “Junior” Bridgeman is seriously contemplating returning to the Milwaukee Bucks. Bridgeman, who enjoyed a 10-year playing career for the Bucks from the mid 1970s until the mid ’80s, could be returning to the organization as an owner. Bridgeman, in a telephone interview Friday from his home in Louisville, Ky., said he recently met with new Bucks co-owners Marc Lasry and Wes Edens about joining their ownership group. “They offered me an invitation to meet with them so I took them up on it,” Bridgeman said. “We met at their offices in New York and had a good conversation.
It’s no secret former Bucks guard Ulysses “Junior” Bridgeman is interested in being part of a new Bucks ownership. Bridgeman, whose No. 2 jersey has been retired by the Bucks, is the president of Bridgeman Foods LLC. His company owns and operates more than 160 Wendy’s restaurants in the United States.
Former Bucks star Junior Bridgeman was in Milwaukee on Saturday to be honored by the franchise on his bobblehead night. But there was another reason for all the media interest in his appearance. Bridgeman was identified in a Journal Sentinel story last week as a potential investor in the franchise as owner Herb Kohl searches for additional ownership partners. Bridgeman said he was not able to discuss his interest because of his involvement with a group that has a partial stake in the Sacramento Kings. “Because I’m involved with another franchise, they have some rules against those things,” Bridgeman said. “So I can’t even touch it without having my tongue cut out.” But Bridgeman, who played for the Bucks from 1975 through 1987 and has gone on to a successful career in the fast-food business, did say he is sizing up the situation.
Billups began thinking about life after basketball when he was 31. He earned his business degree from Colorado, and met Bridgeman during a charity basketball game in Denver. The two talked shop and formed a friendship. Now, Billups has something to fall back on. “I don’t put my name on anything I don’t know about,” Billups said. “I want to be able to go through all my stores and see what is out of place. What is going wrong? I want to know how they prepare sandwiches and walk around and make sure everybody is having a good experience. “That is what I am learning how to do and I am going to do it better every time I go there.”
Imagine pulling up to a Wendy’s drive-thru and giving your order to “Mr. Big Shot.” That’s possible if you go to one of 30 St. Louis area Wendy’s owned by Pistons guard Chauncey Billups and former NBA player Junior Bridgeman. Bridgeman, whose net worth of $240 million exceeds that of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, has had a profound influence on Billups. Not so much on the court as off it. “I was in my prime, but I started thinking about what am I going to do (after basketball),” said Billups, who entered this season with hopes of being an everyday starter before “Father Time” started catching up. (He has played in 18 of 41 games, averaging 3.9 points and 2.2 assists.)
Junior Bridgeman, a former NBA star with the Milwaukee Bucks who forged a highly successful career in the fast-food industry, has emerged as a potential investor in the Milwaukee Bucks. A source with knowledge of Herb Kohl’s efforts to bring in new investors to the Milwaukee Bucks as a way of keeping the team in Milwaukee, said Bridgeman, one of the wealthiest African-Americans in the country, has been approached about investing in the team, and he expressed interest.
Louisville businessman and former NBA star Junior Bridgeman has joined current NBA player Chauncey Billups in the purchase of 30 St. Louis restaurants from Wendy’s Co. As the St. Louis Business Journal reported, the deal continues Bridgeman’s long-term relationship with the Wendy’s chain but marks a foray into the restaurant industry for Billups, a veteran guard who now plays for the Detroit Pistons.
“Chauncey Billups and I are excited about our partnership in the Wendy’s system,” Bridgeman said. “We have a tremendous opportunity in the St. Louis market, and our goal is to build upon the positive momentum and growth that the Wendy’s brand is currently experiencing.”
Bridgeman is not flashy. The 6’5” former small forward/shooting guard is more comfortable out of the limelight than in it. Perhaps because there wasn’t 24/7 media attention when he played from 1975 to 1987, Bridgeman was a hard-won cover story for Franchise Times (Notice who’s on the cover – it’s not him). “He’s one of those E.F. Hutton types,” his wife says. “He’s relatively quiet so when words of wisdom come out of his mouth, people listen.”
But Bridgeman just laughed. Perhaps, it’s because the last laugh really is his. He owned that particular Wendy’s plus several others. Today his company runs 162 Wendy’s and 121 Chili’s and is No. 3 on the Restaurant Finance Monitor’s Top 200 franchisee-owned companies, with $507 million in revenue. In addition, he has other restaurant deals in the works. And while nothing beats the high of winning a game at the very top competitive level, he says giving jobs to people and watching them develop is heart-warming, if not exactly heart-thumping. “He’d always say each day, each opportunity was like a brand-new game,” his wife of 34 years, Doris Bridgeman, says about the restaurant business. “I knew his heart wasn’t in staying in athletics. I knew he wanted to be his own boss.”
After a celebrated career with the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers, Junior Bridgeman was working the line at a Wendy’s fast- food restaurant in Milwaukee. “My job was to make sure what you ordered was on your tray and to thank you for coming,” he told an assembled group of active and retired professional athletes hosted by the Allied Athletes Group earlier this year in Atlanta. “A woman came in and looked at me like she recognized me.” He didn’t think anything about it until the next day, when he heard a woman call into a local talk show and say, “I think it’s a shame. I was at the Wendy’s and I saw Junior Bridgeman working behind the counter … if that’s the best these ex-athletes can do…”