National Lacrosse League Commissioner Jim Jennings officially announced the awarding of an expansion franchise to New Jersey for the 2001-2002 season. The owner of the New Jersey franchise is one of the state's most popular sports figures. Jayson Williams, a former New Jersey Nets center and National Basketball Association All-Star, is the sole owner of the franchise. Williams was officially welcomed to the NLL at a press conference at the Continental Airlines Arena earlier today.
New Jersey Storm owner Jayson Williams
Williams, who was forced to end his NBA playing career in 2000 due to injuries, is now the owner of the NLL's 12th franchise. The New Jersey Storm will sweep into the Garden State for the upcoming 2001-2002 season, which will begin in December. Williams picked the name Storm as a tribute to the St. John's Red Storm, his alma mater. The Storm logo will be revealed at a later date.
The New Jersey Storm management team is currently having discussions with the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority, with intent to reach a lease agreement for the upcoming season.
Williams is no stranger to the professional sports world. Besides having a standout professional basketball career, Williams has become one of
the most admired figures in sports today. Well known for his charismatic personality, Williams is also admired for his incredible dedication to the community in and around the New York/New Jersey area.
"I can't tell you how excited I am to be a part of this league," Williams said. "We're going to have a lot of fun with this team. The fans will love it. This is a great game. I look forward to returning to the great fans who cheered me on as a player with the Nets, and the new fans we will reach."
Said National Lacrosse League Commissioner Jim Jennings: "We could not be more excited to welcome Jayson Williams and the New Jersey Storm to our league. As an NBA All-Star, Jayson was a great competitor, and a fan favorite. We have every confidence that he will do the same as the owner of the Storm. This franchise continues our aggressive expansion in both the United States and Canada."
Williams has hired a former New Jersey Nets and Meadowlands Complex Executive to manage the business functions of the new franchise. Michael Rowe is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Positive Impact, a fully integrated consulting group involved with venue management, event operations, team organization and related marketing and communications disciplines.
Rowe was the former President and Chief Operating Officer of the New
Jersey Nets for five years. Rowe also served as a highly successful Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the Meadowlands Sports Complex. During his 16-year tenure at the Meadowlands, he was the principal executive in charge of more than 3,500 distinct events and championships.
With more than 22 years experience in the sports and entertainment field, Rowe and Positive Impact will manage the sponsorship sales, ticket sales, marketing, public relations, game operations and building relations for the Storm.