Apr 26, 2010, 10:00 AM EDT
There is one banner that matters hanging over the basketball court at Oracle Arena, Golden State’s 1975 NBA Championship banner.
That was Franklin Mieuli’s. The former owner of the Warriors for more than two decades was the architect of that team.
Mieuli died of natural causes Sunday at the age of 89. David Stern told the AP this:
“Franklin was truly one of the innovators in our league, who was so proud of the Bay Area and his ability to maintain a team there,” NBA commissioner David Stern said in a statement Sunday night. “I have always fondly remembered … his warmth and his belief in the importance of sports to a community.”
Mieuli was a radio man who bought the Philadelphia Warriors and moved them across the country in 1962. He was the team’s majority owner until he sold in 1986.
His team were the underdogs but won the 1975 NBA title by sweeping the Washington Bullets in the Finals. Rick Barry and Jamal “Silk” Wilkes led that Warriors team. For years afterward, he used to bring the trophy out with him when he went out to speak, so that people could see and touch it up close. Current Warriors owner Chris Cohan said he would be missed.
“Franklin Mieuli was one of the most colorful and passionate individuals I have ever met and basketball fans in Northern California certainly owe a debt of gratitude to him for helping establish NBA basketball in the Bay Area,” Warriors owner Chris Cohan said. “I don’t think anyone will ever forget the 1975 championship team and the excitement that Franklin and that group of underdogs brought to fans of all ages.”
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