When Philadelphia Sixers CEO Adam Aron spoke before a packed gathering of the Jewish Business Network last month, he tossed a scoop about the color of his team’s new travel jerseys. What he didn’t say was that he was planning to resign his post.
Earlier this week Aron, a Jewish area native and Abington High graduate, announced his resignation as CEO while emphasizing he will stay on the club’s board and even increase his financial stake in the team.
After attempts to increase fan loyalties to the Philadelphia Sixers with a series of promotions that included bringing back onetime team stars and drastically reduced ticket prices, the one thing team Aron couldn’t conjure up was a consistently winning ball club.
He is being replaced by Villanova University grad Scott O’Neill, onetime president of Madison Square Garden.
When Aron, a minority holder, joined fellow Jewish Philadelphian Josh Harris in buying the team in 2011 — with an assortment of other notables, including actors Will Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith — there was much razzmatazz made about improving the sorrowful team’s fortunes. Indeed, after the purchase, the team bounced back — for a while — even making it to the Eastern Conference semifinals in 2012.
But the past season was a sorrowful sight for the reduced number of fans attending games at the Wells Fargo Center as controversial trades and less-than-inspired play made the team targets of shout-outs that had nothing to do with compliments.
When he talked about being the “face” of the team, Aron recalled last year that “my grandmother — who used to live on Rittenhouse Square — would watch me play outside and say, ‘Put down that ball and pick up a book!’ ”'
Apparently he has — albeit a financial ledger: Aron reportedly will head up a new investment fund financially backed by some of his fellow Sixers owners.