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OKC group sought out Hornets first

By Berry Tramel Published: July 19, 2006
Shinn repeatedly refused offer from businessmen

The Oklahoma City group that purchased the Seattle SuperSonics on Tuesday repeatedly attempted to buy the Hornets from George Shinn.

Shinn wasn’t selling.

“They wanted to have ultimate control,” Shinn said. “I wasn’t willing to give it up.”

OKC businessmen Clay Bennett, Tom Ward, Aubrey McClendon and G. Jeffrey Records bought the Sonics and previously had formed the Oklahoma Professional Sports, LLC, with the stated desire of bringing a permanent major-league franchise to Oklahoma City.

Shinn has sought investment partners to alleviate personal debt. The Oklahoma City group initially offered to buy a minority share of the Hornets but wanted an eventual path to controlling interest.

Shinn said no hard feelings, he would have done the same thing in their situation. “If I get into a situation, I like to be in control,” he said. But the Hornets are “something I brought to life. I want to make sure my family has an opportunity to keep this franchise if they want it.

“This team has been the best investment I’ve ever made in my life.

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