Report: Lewis Katz, Former Nets Owner, Dies in Plane Crash

Lewis Katz at the 2000 Draft Lottery. (AP)

Lewis Katz at the 2000 Draft Lottery. (AP)

Lewis Katz, the new co-owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer and a former principal owner of the then-New Jersey Nets, has died in a plane crash in Massachusetts.

Katz was part of a group that bought the Nets from the “Secaucus Seven” in 1998 and donated his stake to a charitable trust called the Community Youth Organization, a trust which provided social services to impoverished New Jersey cities, and remained a shareholder in the team after selling his stake to Bruce Ratner.

He was also a major partner in YankeeNets and an investor in YES Network, and the former principal owner of the New Jersey Devils.

The Nets organization released this statement from the organization at large on Katz’s passing:

“The Brooklyn Nets organization was shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic death of Lewis Katz, an exceptional man who was the visual face of the ownership group during the most successful period of the Nets NBA franchise. Besides his love of the game, Lewis was deeply committed to the community and leaves an enduring record of philanthropic initiatives. Our sincere condolences, thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”

The NBA released a statement from NBA commissioner Adam Silver:

“All of us at the NBA were extremely saddened to learn of the tragic, sudden death of former Nets owner Lewis Katz. Lewis was a trusted friend and valued member of the NBA family. He was a visionary businessman who touched the lives of so many with his tireless pursuit of innovation and enterprise, as well as his deep commitment to his family, friends and community. Among his many accomplishments were having led his Nets teams in 2002 and 2003 to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history. I send my deepest condolences to the Katz family during this very difficult time.”
Katz was 72.

Philadelphia Inquirer — Lewis Katz, co-owner of The Inquirer, dies in plane crash