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Friday, June 15, 2012

Microsoft CEO joins NBA arena push


SEATTLE — The effort to build a new arena in Seattle with the hopes of seeing the NBA return has added a big name: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

Ballmer will be part of the investment group for both the arena and the acquisition of an NBA franchise, according to a letter sent Wednesday by hedge-fund manager and investment group leader Chris Hansen to King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn.

"While it was my intention to wait until the local investor group was fully assembled before making any announcement, given the intense community interest and requests from the city and county councils, three members of my investment group have agreed to come forward at this time," Hansen wrote in the letter, which was obtained by The Associated Press.

That Ballmer is part of the investment group is not a surprise. Ballmer is a longtime basketball fan who regularly sat courtside at SuperSonics games before their departure to Oklahoma City in 2008 and was part of a group that made a last-ditch effort to try to keep the team in Seattle.

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