By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
The NBA and the NFL lost one of its owners on Thursday. Tom Benson died at 90-years-old.
Benson was the owner of the New Orleans Saints in the NFL. He was also the owner of the New Orleans Pelicans in the NBA.
Benson, who was a businessman, before becoming a sports owner, owned the Saints from 1985 through Thursday. He also owned the Pelicans from 2012 through Thursday.
He was hospitalized with the flu since Feb. 16. He passed away peacefully at Ochsner Medical Center, with his wife, Gayle, by his side.
Mr. Benson was born in New Orleans, La., and graduated Loyola University New Orleans with a business and accounting degree. He even stopped his education to enlist in the U.S. Navy, where he was assigned to the USS South Dakota and returned to New Orleans following the conclusion of World War II.
He began working for Cathey Chevrolet Co. in 1948, then was managing the dealership by 1956, according to neworleanssaints.com. By 1962, he was in control of the dealership and created a multi-dealership company in New Orleans and Texas.
He also started Benson Financial World in 1972.
Benson, who found out that the Saints may be relocated, decided to purchase the franchise. He made the deal official in May 1985. The team, since he purchased it, went to the playoffs 11 times and won Super Bowl XLIX in 2009.
He also purchased the Pelicans in 2012 after finding out the franchise was up for sale. He then rebranded them from the New Orleans Hornets to the New Orleans Pelicans after he once said it was due to seeing the Pelicans resilience after oil spills.