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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, April 26, 2010

NBA: Former Warriors owner Mieuli dead at 89

By Marcus Thomspon Ii
San Jose Mercury News

Franklin Mieuli, the only owner to bring a championship to the Warriors franchise since it moved West, died Sunday of natural causes. He was 89.

Mieuli owned the Warriors for 24 years, selling the franchise in 1985. But Mieuli, with his bushy beard and plaid deerstalker cap, was a regular sight courtside at Warriors games over the years, even the early part of this past season. He had been hospitalized recently, the family told the Warriors.

"Franklin Mieuli was one of the most instrumental figures in my life," Al Attles, who was coach of Mieuli's 1975 championship team, said in a news release. "Both from a basketball standpoint and simply life in general. He was always there for me and my family and provided me with so many wonderful opportunities. He was one of the most unique and eccentric individuals that I have ever met, and I'm not sure there will ever be anyone like him again."

Born in San Jose, Calif., Mieuli was an established broadcast producer in the Bay Area and has been credited for helping popular broa?iors to go to the ABA," NBA Hall of Famer Rick Barry, the star player on the championship team, said in a release. "He vowed to do everything in his power to get me back. Thank goodness he did, because without his perseverance, I would never have had the opportunity to return to the Warriors and experience an NBA championship."

Mieuli was known for his eccentric behavior and his willingness to do what it took to win. Not only did he bring Barry back after a contract dispute prompted the star to sign with the ABA, but Attles also often talks about Mieuli's efforts in breaking down racial barriers.

Attles said because of racial tension in the country at the time, he went to Mieuli about signing African-American players. Attles said Mieuli was all but insulted that Attles even asked, and he told Attles to get the best players no matter the color of their skin.

NBA commissioner David Stern said in the release: "Franklin was truly one of the innovators in our league, who was so proud of the Bay Area and his ability to maintain a team there. I have always fondly remembered his introducing a very young lawyer to so many wonderful sights in San Francisco, his warmth and his belief in the importance of sports to a community."