Ebony Magazine might have a comeback if former NBA player Ulysses “Junior” Bridgeman has his way. The retired Milwaukee Buck was announced as the successful bidder for the iconic publication that chronicled Black history and achievements for decades.
Ebony was forced into bankruptcy in July after defaulting on more than $10 million in loans. The magazine owed writers more than $80K at one point. Bridgeman Sports and Media Company put in the bid of $14 million with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and now is awaiting approval of the request by a federal judge.
Bridgeman told The Chicago Tribune he believes the brand is still viable and can become profitable once again and work its way back to prominence. With plans to keep the publication digital, he said, “Nothing is ever easy, but this would be, I think a labor of love. When you look at Ebony, you look at the history not just for Black people, but of the United States. I think it’s something that a generation is missing and we want to bring that back as much as we can.”
Bridgeman spent most of his 12-year career with the Milwaukee Bucks and became a successful fast-food franchisee once he stopped playing. At one point, he owned over 100 Wendy’s and Chili’s restaurant franchises and later became a bottler for Coca-Cola.
The Chicago native holds Ebony near to his heart because the publication was founded in the Windy City in 1945. He also told The Chicago Tribune, “Ebony kind of stood for Black excellence, showing people doing positive things that could benefit everyone.”
Bridgeman revealed that they will have some occasional print issues and that his children will be responsible for managing the revitalized company.