Former New Jersey Devils and New Jersey Nets owner Lewis Katz was killed in a fiery plane crash on Saturday night, according to multiple reports on Sunday morning. Katz was reportedly flying in a private jet with as manay as six people when it crashed shortly after take off and killed everyone on board.
Katz was 72.
CBS2 in New York confirmed the death of Katz on Sunday morning, stating that word has spread quickly about the crash that claimed the life of a man who so many sports fans in the area had become familiar with over the years.
Katz, 72, was most recently a co-owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer. He made his fortune investing in the Kinney Parking empire and the Yankees Entertainment and Sports (YES) Network in New York.
Bill Marimow, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s editor, confirmed Katz’s death to Philly.com, saying he learned the news from close associates.
He gave up control of the Nets when he sold them in 2004 but some of the last great years the Nets had were under Katz’s control. New Jersey went to the NBA Finals in 2002 and again in 2003 and he had even better success with the New Jersey Devils.
Neither team has been the same since Katz left them and while it’s hard to say his departure was the sole reason for their downfalls, it’s also not hard to say some of the best years were spent under Katz’s control. He may not be a name that everyone remembers but he touched plenty of sports lives over the years and his untimely passing is surely going to be tough for those who knew him to deal with.