Posted on February 23, 2012 at 4:56 PM
Thursday, Feb 23 at 10:32 PM
SEATTLE -- Chris Hansen, 44, is a wealthy San Francisco hedge fund manager who grew up in Seattle rooting for the SuperSonics. He's the mystery man who's been putting together a plan to build Seattle's new sports arena.
"Now a major reason we're here today, and you've seen some of the newspaper reports, is because of Chris Hansen," Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn.
Since the arena deal went public, everyone wants to know: Who is Chris Hansen? He's not exactly a household name and that's just fine with him.
"I enjoy my privacy. I enjoy my life. You know, I enjoy my relative anonymity," said Hansen. "If it weren't for my desire to bring an NBA team back here, no one would ever have heard of me. And I would have preferred to keep it that way."
Hansen is so private, a Seattle Times interview is the only one he's done.
In San Francisco, Hansen is a big deal in the investment world. He's in charge of Valiant Capital, a hedge fund worth a reported $3 billion.
But Hansen describes himself as a local sports fan whose heart never left town.
"I've always been a Seattle sports fan. There's no second team. If you talk to my friends, you'd realize I'm a Seahawks fan, a Mariners fan, a Sounders fan and a Sonics fan," said Hansen.
Hansen was 11 years old when the SuperSonics won the NBA title in 1979. He calls it a defining moment in his life.
Hansen graduated from Seattle Roosevelt High School in 1986. He went to college in Southern California, earning a MBA at the University of Southern California. College is when Hansen first dreamed of owning his own team.
He still has basketball dreams, but now he has the money to make them come true.
"I still have dreams that I can dunk. I dream that I can dunk, and I wake up and...wow, it seems so real," said Hansen.
Private investors, lead by hedge fund manager Hansen would invest $500 million in an arena and a NBA team according to a letter from Hansen to Mayor McGinn and King County Executive Dow Constantine.
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