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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Former Warriors owner Mieuli dies

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Franklin Mieuli, whose deerstalker cap, substantial beard and casual style made him one of the NBA's most colorful figures in his 24 years as owner of the Golden State Warriors, died Sunday. He was 89.

Mieuli died of natural causes in a San Francisco Bay Area hospital, the Warriors said in a statement.

Mieuli was the principal owner of the Warriors from the time they moved to the Bay Area in 1962 until he sold them in 1986. He won an NBA title with the team in 1975, still the club's only championship in nearly a half-century in California.

"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," NBA commissioner David Stern said in a statement Sunday night. "I have always fondly remembered . . . his warmth and his belief in the importance of sports to a community."

Leveraging his way into sports ownership through a business producing Bay Area sports broadcasts, Mieuli also once owned a small percentage of the San Francisco Giants. He still had a 5 percent interest in the 49ers, purchased in 1954.

Mieuli was a fixture at Warriors games well into his 80s, wearing his distinctive hat and watching from his courtside seats at Oracle Arena.

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