Red McCombs, the billionaire American businessman who brought professional basketball to San Antonio in the 1970s and briefly owned the Minnesota Vikings, has died. He was 95.
The Vikings announced McCombs’ death on Monday.
"The Minnesota Vikings are saddened by the passing of former team owner Red McCombs," the team said. "Red embodied his famous ‘Purple Pride’ phrase and remained a staunch Vikings fan after passing the torch to the Wilf family in 2005. While Red had a clear passion for sports, it was evident what he loved the most were his children and grandchildren. Our thoughts and prayers are with the McCombs family during this difficult time. We will be forever grateful for Red and Charline's contributions to the Vikings."
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McCombs was partly responsible for bringing pro basketball to San Antonio and appeared to be determined to reinvent the city after a spat with then-president Lee Iacocca in the late 1960s. He got a group of investors and brought the Dallas Chaparrals to San Antonio and renamed them the Spurs.
The team then brought in George Gervin who dominated the American Basketball Association and put the league on the map. The Spurs would join the NBA after the merger with Gervin spending the rest of his Hall of Famer career there. McCombs sold his stake in the organization two years later and bought the Denver Nuggets, who were also playing in the NBA and later would join the NBA.
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After selling the Nuggets in 1985, McCombs bought the Vikings in 1998. McCombs failed to get a new stadium built for the Vikings, who were playing at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome at the time and because of that he sold the team to Zygi Wilf.
Aside from his sporting exploits, McCombs was the founder of Red McCombs Automotive Group, a co-founder of Clear Channel Communications and the former chairman of Constellis Group.
He’s remembered at the University of Texas at Austin with the McCombs School of Business.
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"Red was a visionary entrepreneur who touched many lives and impacted our community in immeasurable ways," the McCombs family said in a statement, via Texas Tribune. "But to us he was always, first and foremost, ‘Dad’ or ‘Poppop.’ We mourn the loss of a Texas icon."