Former Warriors owner Franklin Mieuli, who had been recently hospitalized, died Sunday in the Bay Area due to natural causes at the age of 89.
Mieuli, who was born Sept. 14, 1920, in San Jose, served as the Warriors owner for 24 years after assuming a partial stake in the team when it moved to the Bay Area in 1962 from Philadelphia and became the club’s majority owner shortly thereafter.
“Franklin was truly one of the innovators in our league, who was so proud of the Bay Area and his ability to maintain a team there,” NBA commissioner David Stern said. “I have always fondly remembered his introducing a very young lawyer to so many wonderful sites in San Francisco, his warmth and his belief in the importance of sports to a community.”
During his tenure with the Warriors, the club captured the NBA championship in 1975 when head coach Al Attles and forward Rick Barry led the team to an improbable four-game sweep of the Washington Bullets in the NBA Finals.
Mieuli retained ownership of the team until 1985, when he sold the club to Jim Fitzgerald.
A long-time radio and TV producer in the Bay Area, Mieuli was also a part-owner of the 49ers and his production company — Franklin Mieuli & Associates — has been a long-standing and successful operation in the Bay Area for over six decades.
“I was greatly saddened to learn of Franklin’s passing,” Barry said. “He was a great owner, but more importantly a great friend. Besides that, he was a unique individual with many eccentricities, including his trademark deerslayer hat. ... I have kept in touch with Franklin over the years and his passing is a great loss to his family, friends and the game of basketball. I will truly miss him.”