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Old 04-08-2010, 04:05 PM   #1
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Default Shinn selling to Chouest?

New Orleans Hornets' owner George Shinn ready to sell team to local billionaire businessman Gary Chouest

There were any number of ironies that presented themselves on Wednesday night at New Orleans Arena as the New Orleans Hornets continued playing out the string of their losing season against the Charlotte Bobcats.

The owner’s court-side chair, recently re-occupied by majority owner George Shinn who returned a week and a half ago disease-free after January surgery on his cancerous prostate gland, was being used by someone else as Shinn had a previous engagement.

Yet it appears that Shinn, as with anyone who has experienced a brush with mortality, has undergone a life-altering metamorphosis: Shinn has discovered that ownership of an NBA basketball team is no longer a necessity in his life now that he has triumphed over a potentially fatal disease.

Though no signed agreement is yet in place, according to league sources, there apparently is now nothing to stand in the way of Shinn selling his entire remaining interest in the franchise he nurtured from its birth in Charlotte in 1988 and relocated to New Orleans in 2002, and again in 2007 after a two-year, storm-induced exile in Oklahoma City.

And the man whom Shinn brought on board as a 25-percent owner nearly three years ago, billionaire local businessman Gary Chouest, is poised to become the Hornets new owner, perhaps as early as the end of the week, likely ensuring the team’s long-term future in New Orleans and its economic viability as a big-time NBA player.

Chouest purchased his one-quarter interest in the team in July 2007, the summer the team returned to New Orleans, for $62 million and could likely pay Shinn close to an additional $200 for Shinn’s remaining 75 percent making the total purchase price likely greater than $260 million, sources said.

Cancer can be a life changing experience. After being so adamant about not ever selling the Hornets, I guess Shinn has put other things in life into perspective. A lot of Hornets fans, myself included, hoped he would eventually sell to local Chouest and it looks to be finally happening.
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