Jason Levien

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Jason Levien is the co-owner of the Major League Soccer club D.C. United and the former CEO of the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies.

Levien oversaw the Memphis Grizzlies' basketball and business operations from 2012 until June 2014, hiring the club's current head coach Dave Joerger and VP of Basketball Operations John Hollinger. The team posted a 106-58 regular season record from 2012 thru the 2013-14 season and won more playoff games in that two-season period than it had won in the franchise's history, including its first ever trip to the Western Conference Finals. In 2013, ESPN The Magazine's Ultimate Standings named the Memphis Grizzlies as the best sports franchise in North America.

Levien is an attorney and earlier in his career he served as both a sports agent who has represented professional athletes in the NBA, NFL, MLB and other sports leagues in the United States and across the globe,[1] and as a member of the front offices of the Sacramento Kings and Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA.[2] He was an adjunct professor at the UC Berkeley School of Law, where he taught sports law.[3]

On July 31, 2008, Levien negotiated what was the largest contract in the history of the Chicago Bulls, a six year, $80 million agreement for his client, Luol Deng. In 2007, Levien negotiated a $55 million deal with the Sacramento Kings on behalf of the Kings' leading scorer, Kevin Martin. In 2005, he negotiated a $33 million deal with the Miami Heat on behalf of Udonis Haslem.[4]

Levien also represented Omri Casspi and Yotam Halperin, two of the first Israeli players drafted into the NBA, Ukrainian-born center, Kyrylo Fesenko, Courtney Lee, Hedo Türkoğlu and Earnest Graham, among others.[5][6] An article chronicling three of Levien's clients drafted by the NBA in 2006, appeared in The New York Times' Play Magazine in October 2006.[5] Casspi became the first Israeli-born player to be drafted in the first round and to play in the NBA and was named to the 2010 NBA Rookie All-Star Challenge.

Levien has appeared as a weekly on-air commentator on WFOR-TV in Miami, and has been a guest on ESPN, ESPNews and NPR regarding the business of professional sports and the NBA's Collective Bargaining Agreement.[1]

Levien played on the basketball team while attending Pomona College, and he was an editor of the law review at the University of Michigan.[7]

Levien has also served as a Democratic strategist and campaign consultant. He was credited as the speechwriter for the Keynote Speech at the 2000 Democratic Convention in Los Angeles given by Congressman Harold Ford, Jr.[8] Levien and Ford have also co-authored a policy essay on campaign finance reform published by the Harvard Journal on Legislation.[9] Following law school, Levien clerked for the Hon. Diana Gribbon Motz of the United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit.

In 2011, Levien emerged as part of an investment group along with actor Will Smith that purchased the Philadelphia 76ers.[10]

In 2012, Levien and fellow Sixers minority owner Erick Thohir were named new majority owners for Major League Soccer club D.C. United, with the goal to get a soccer stadium built for the team.[11]

He sold his stake in the Sixers to join new Memphis Grizzlies owner Robert Pera's ownership group. He was named club CEO. Pera is the Chairman and Controlling Owner. His partners include Justin Timberlake, Peyton and Ashley Manning, Harold Ford, Jr. and Penny Hardaway.[12] His tenure as Grizzlies CEO ended on May 19, 2014.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Jason Levien: Tue, Aug 10, 2004 — 10:00 AM
  2. ^ a b "Grizzlies dismiss CEO Jason Levien amid surprising front office shakeup", Sports Illustrated, Rob Mahoney, May 19, 2014.
  3. ^ "Berkeley Law - Courses@Boalt". Law.berkeley.edu. Retrieved 2012-12-01. 
  4. ^ Reynolds, Tim (January 30, 2009). "Haslem agrees to five-year deal, will stay with Heat". St. Augustine Record. Associated Press. 
  5. ^ a b Sokolove, Michael (October 29, 2006). "From Tel Aviv to the Space Needle, by Way of Slovenia (With Stops in Treviso, Miami and Salt Lake City)". New York Times. 
  6. ^ Hamilton, Linda (August 14, 2007). "Jazz, Fesenko deal almost done". Deseret Morning News. 
  7. ^ "Pomona College Magazine: PCM Online". Pomona.edu. Retrieved 2012-12-01. 
  8. ^ "Losing The Old Labels - Newsweek and The Daily Beast". Newsweek.com. 2002-01-27. Retrieved 2012-12-01. 
  9. ^ "Harvard Law School Journal on Legislation » A Harvard Law School Student Journal". Law.harvard.edu. 2012-02-15. Retrieved 2012-12-01. 
  10. ^ "Sources: Philadelphia 76ers sale talks in progress - ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. 2011-06-08. Retrieved 2012-12-01. 
  11. ^ D.C. United’s new investors Erick Thohir, Jason Levien should boost quest for stadium
  12. ^ Grizzlies pick Jason Levien as CEO