Jami Gertz: The Atlanta Hawks’ Good Luck Charm Reveals Her Plans To Revamp The Organization
The future is looking bright for the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks organization thanks to team owner, Jami Gertz! She’s ‘in it to win it’ when it comes to revamping the organization and she’s not messing around! — ‘I want championships!’
You may recognize Jami Gertz, 52, from Hollywood’s hottest red carpets and her popular roles in The Lost Boys, Sixteen Candles, Less Than Zero, and Square Pegs. However, the actress/producer has stepped into another red hot spotlight. She is Team Owner of the NBA‘s Atlanta Hawks organization, along with her husband, Principal Owner, Tony Ressler and Vice Chair Grant Hill. And, don’t think she’s taking a backseat to any plans as the organization rebuilds itself. Gertz has been on the front lines as she and Ressler continue to revamp the Hawks, starting with the renovation of Philips Arena (the 2nd largest in NBA history, which debuts in October), to the team’s new elite practice facility.
“We’re bringing a lot of pieces to this puzzle together because we want to bring championships to Atlanta,” Gertz told HollywoodLife.com EXCLUSIVELY. “I’m putting the ‘s’ in championship(s); I want multiples. I already have the parade route in my head. — They deserve it, they’ve waited.” It is safe to say the Hawks are very lucky to have her.
Gertz just represented the team at the 2018 Draft Lottery in her hometown of Chicago, Illinois, on May 15, where they landed the third pick. — A great, potentially franchise-changing pick, which could aid in their rebuild phase, along with Gertz’s family-oriented and inclusive approach to turning the organization around.
For Gertz, creating an organization that’s appealing on the inside and out is just half the battle. She thinks it’s “crucial” to create a secure space, for not only the players to feel completely supported, but their families as well. This is so important to Gertz because of her own experiences as an actress. “I used to have to go from movie to movie and hotel to hotel. I know what it’s like to feel alone when your spouse is not with you; when you’re in a place where your family is not living; where you have to create a space for yourself where you aren’t lonesome,” she explained.
“The Hawks organization strives to take care of the whole family, making sure that everyone is comfortable, making sure that everyone’s needs are met, so that the players can be their best selves on the court and the families can be as strong and healthy as they can be.”
Gertz recently hosted a Dress for Success event with the wives and families of the Hawks organization; One of the many bonding experiences she plans to organize. “We do a lot of things together,” she said. “We all took a workout class one day, we have spa days together. It’s really creating that feeling that you’re not alone and we’re all in this together. We’re all fans in our own right so we want to support our players and our families.”
Check out the rest of our exclusive interview with Jami Gertz below!
What is your game plan as part of representing the Hawks and transforming the organization?
I always say to my husband, ‘We’re doing our mid-life crisis together.’ I want him to be on the same page in our mid-life. We have three sons, two of which play high school basketball. To now be a part of this great Hawks organization and be team owners of this great city asset and Atlanta being such a surprise for me; I’ve never been there before we purchased the team. I went in not know anything, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised and so embraced, our whole family, by the city of Atlanta. So, for us, it was like coming in with fresh eyes, seeing a franchise that had been there for 50 years, so now how can we put our stamp on it and build upon what had already been created.
How are you and your family putting a valuable stamp on the Hawks organization?
We can only be who we are as a family and you kind of get what you see. It’s so natural. My sons are so comfortable and such a part of creating the atmosphere. They’re wise counsel to the both of us because they’re such lovers of the game. And, they’re the age of the players, so they understand that age group and brining in young fans and what young fans are looking for in their experience at arenas these days. So, building out our rebuild and figuring out how millennials go out for the evening and what they’re looking forward to and how they want to spend their money — I have three kids I can look to to bounce ideas off of. A lot of the arena’s transformation, not only the aesthetics, but the music and the look of it and uniforms, I’ve sought their ideas. It’s a real family business that we’re loving.
Tell us about the new facility…
We needed to refurbish that arena, we needed to build a G-League facility, we needed a new practice facility. And, the new facility is best in class. When you walk in there, you feel special and that’s what we want for our players and our potential players. When you walk in that practice facility, you feel loved, you feel respected, you have a place to create that is world class, and that’s what we have built. So, that is definitely a reason I believe players will want to plant their roots and come play for the Hawks.
How is it to own a team with your husband, and work at this level?
We are a team, Tony and I. I feel blessed I get to walk this earth with him. I have to say, the thing I adore about my husband, way back when (30 years of marriage), when we didn’t have much, I always felt potential in him. He has surely shown that in Atlanta with all that he’s accomplished and I’m by his side rooting him on and helping where I can! In my dreams and thoughts I didn’t know if this could ever be a reality, but now that it is, it’s extraordinary. It’s a very exclusive club to be part of and I’m very respectful of it.
How supportive has the NBA been in your rebuild of the Hawks?
Adam Silver and the NBA are amazing. They’re an amazing organization. The fact that we get to create with them the best fan experiences we can across this country and hopefully across the world is amazing. The key is to make as many basketball fans love it the way we do.
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