Basketball

Celtics sold for record $360 million

The Boston Celtics were sold to local investors Tuesday -- lock, stock and parquet floor.

Outgoing owner Paul Gaston sold the storied NBA franchise to Boston Basketball Partners, L.L.C., a private investment group, for a league record $360 million US on Sept. 27, but the official announcement came during Tuesday's 96-89 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.

The previous high was the $280 million US internet billionaire Mark Cuban doled out for the Dallas Mavericks in January 2000.

The BBP group is led by longtime fans Wycliffe K. Grousbeck, Stephen Pagliuca, H. Irving Grousbeck and his Abbey Group, and represented by Robert Epstein.

"This is the thrill of a lifetime," enthused Wyc Grousbeck, BBP managing partner and chief executive officer.

"Our local ownership group -- the first local owners in decades -- is honoured to accept this role and begin working with the team and the community to continue the winning tradition of the Celtics on and off the court."

The Celtics have captured 16 NBA titles, the last coming in 1986.

"We are extremely excited to be a part of the glory and tradition that is the Boston Celtics," BBP managing partner Irv Grousback exclaimed. "This ownership group is dedicated to adding to that tradition through a commitment to championship basketball and the community."

Gaston succeeded his father, Donald, as Celtics owner in 1992, but recently imposed spending constraints so as to avoid the luxury tax.

Such will not be the case with incoming ownership.

"I think they're very excited," Celtics forward Antoine Walker said. "I've seen them around.

"Hopefully, they'll make additions when we need additions. We've got to get a couple of bodies in here."

"I think the thing the whole group here likes about the team is this team plays really hard," Pagliuca observed. "The coach (Jim O'Brien) has them just diving on balls.

"And that's what we're going to do as an ownership group. We're going to bond together and try to bring a championship back to Boston."

Forbes Magazine recently estimated the value of the Celtics at $218 million US, a distant 13th behind the three-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers ($403 million US).

with files from Sports Network