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Grad To Run New NBA Team

Grad To Run New NBA TeamFormer Tufts basketball player Ed Tapscott was named executive vice president of the NBA’s newly-approved expansion franchise in Charlotte. Charlotte.

Boston [01.07.03] Less than three weeks after the NBA accepted a bid by Black Entertainment Television founder Robert Johnson to create an expansion team in Charlotte, the billionaire appointed Tufts graduate Ed Tapscott as the basketball franchise's new executive vice president. The announcement - which was made at a press conference on Tuesday morning - followed weeks of speculation that the highly-respected and popular Tapscott would take the reins of the new team.

› watch the NBA press conference

"Tapscott is, in my opinion, one of the best and brightest basketball guys in the country," Johnson told reporters. "He is someone who I am absolutely delighted to have at my side because he has a background and level of experience that makes him unique."

A former executive with the New York Knicks, Tapscott has worked with a number of NBA teams including the Milwaukee Bucks and the Washington Wizards.

In a column for the St. Louis Post Dispatch, sports reporter Bryan Burwell called the selection of the Tufts graduate one of Johnson's "smartest moves," citing Tapscott's extensive background in the sport.

"Tapscott has one of the most unusual and overqualified resumes in pro hoops," he wrote in the Post-Dispatch. "He was a player at Tufts University, a college assistant and head coach at American University, a practicing attorney, agent, scout and front office executive."

That experience, says Johnson, will be crucial to the success of the expansion team, which will begin play in the 2004 season.

"He is one of the most capable and talented people involved in basketball and I am sure he will meet the challenges of the job with resourcefulness, creativity and success," Johnson told reporters.

Just hours into the job, Tapscott made it clear that he is focused on restoring a first-class basketball organization to Charlotte, whose former team -- the Hornets -- moved to New Orleans last year.

"Winning isn't just about competing for an NBA championship, but obviously that is the first goal any franchise has," Tapscott told reporters. Winning the hearts and minds of the people of Charlotte is just as important, Tapscott added.

"[We must become] part of this community by reaching out," said the Tufts graduate.

Charlotte, he said, is a great home for a team. "I've seen their passion," Tapscott said of the city's fans.

Johnson - who will reportedly spend more than $300 million to establish the new franchise - outbid a team comprised of several other NBA veterans, including Larry Bird, M.L. Carr and Jan Volk.

Volk - who taught "The Business of Sports: A Study of the NBA" at Tufts' Experimental College for many years - was formerly the General Manager of the Boston Celtics.

"We thought we had the package," Volk told the Lowell Sun. "All I can say is that the other group must have had quite a presentation."

Image courtesy of Charlotte NBC6


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