A retired NBA player is stepping up to save an iconic publication that is embedded in the fabric of Black culture. According to the Chicago Tribune, Ulysses “Junior” Bridgeman is buying the media company Ebony out of bankruptcy.
The acquisition was made through his company Bridgeman Sports and Media. Bridgeman—an East Chicago native—bid $14 million for the company in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The athlete-turned-entrepreneur says by purchasing the publication he hopes to preserve its legacy and make it profitable in this digital age. “Nothing is ever easy, but this would be, I think, a labor of love,” he said in a statement, according to the news outlet. “Ebony kind of stood for Black excellence, showing people doing positive things that could benefit everyone. When you look at Ebony, you look at the history not just for Black people, but of the United States. I think it’s something that a generation is missing and we want to bring that back as much as we can.” Bridgeman says the company will be operated by his children and the publication will remain digital with exclusive print issues.
Ebony Media is currently owned by Linda Johnson Rice and the CVG Group which acquired the publication in 2016.
Bridgeman—a former Milwaukee Bucks player who retired in 1987—has made several power moves in the realm of business. In 2017, he opened Heartland Coca-Cola Bottling Co. after spending decades as a fast-food restaurant franchisee. In 2019, he attempted to acquire Sports Illustrated from The Meredith Corp.