Former 76ers general manager Bryan Colangelo purchases stake in Australian team

Former Philadelphia 76ers general manager and two-time NBA executive of the year Bryan Colangelo has purchased an ownership stake in and will assume an advisory role with the Illawarra Hawks of Australia's National Basketball League.

The league made the announcement Tuesday in a news release. Colangelo is partnering with Australian Dorry Kordahi and American Michael Proctor to purchase the stake.

Colangelo, 55, won't have a role running the franchise as a president or GM but will assist in governance and strategy as an equity partner to the ownership group, sources told ESPN. The team will continue with Australian-centric basketball.

"Australian basketball, with its great history, has been on a significant rise for many years now and the NBL has played a significant role in growing the sport's awareness and participation levels, while developing some of the best athlete and coaching talent the world has to offer," Colangelo said in a league news release. "We are thrilled to be selected as new partners with the league and pledge to outperform the expectations placed on us and deliver for Hawks fans."

This is Colangelo's first foray back into professional basketball since his untidy exit in Philadelphia, where a social media controversy led to his resignation in 2018. A Sixers investigation absolved Colangelo but revealed that his wife, Barbara, had operated multiple controversial Twitter accounts in attempt to support her husband.

Colangelo recently interviewed for the vice president of basketball operations position with the Chicago Bulls, which ultimately went to Arturas Karnisovas.

Colangelo was an NBA executive of the year in two of his three stops as a GM, including Phoenix and Toronto. As a GM, he hired several front-office officials who went on to senior leadership roles in the NBA, including the Toronto Raptors' Masai Ujiri, the New Orleans Pelicans' David Griffin, Chicago's Marc Eversley and Philadelphia's Elton Brand.

Colangelo worked with the longtime Australian national coach, Brett Brown, with the 76ers. One of the groups that pursued a purchase of Illawarra included the franchise's star player of the past season: point guard LaMelo Ball. There had been serious discussions on a close on a deal that never materialized.