Passings: Michael Heisley, DJ Rashad
Billionaire businessman moved NBA’s Grizzlies from Vancouver to Memphis
Michael Heisley, 77, a billionaire businessman who moved the NBA’s Grizzlies from Vancouver to Memphis and made an unsuccessful bid to buy the Dodgers in 2012, died Saturday, the Grizzlies said.
Heisley, who sold his basketball team before the start of the 2012-13 season, suffered a stroke last year.
Co-founder of The Heico Companies, Heisley was a computer salesman who parlayed investments in underperforming businesses into a corporation with interests in food production, heavy equipment, pre-engineered metal buildings and other industries.
After purchasing the troubled Grizzlies in 2000, Heisley considered moving them to Anaheim. He was dissuaded at least in part by a costly revenue-sharing arrangement with the Anaheim Ducks, the NHL team playing in the arena then known as the Arrowhead Pond.
After locating in Memphis — much to the disappointment of fans in Vancouver — he hired Lakers legend Jerry West as the team’s president in 2002.
Born March 13, 1937, in Washington, D.C., Heisley grew up in Alexandria, Va., and graduated from Georgetown University.
In Memphis, he was instrumental in getting the Grizzlies active in the community, forming the Memphis Grizzlies Charitable Foundation, which aids St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and other local nonprofits.
In October 2012, he sold the Grizzlies to current owner Robert Pera for an estimated $377 million. Earlier that year, he was one of 11 bidders vying for the Dodgers.
Chicago club performer helped usher in wave of dance music known as footwork
DJ Rashad, 34, a performer in Chicago clubs who helped usher in a wave of dance music known as footwork, was found dead Saturday in an apartment with narcotics and drug paraphernalia nearby, Chicago police said.
Born Rashad Harden in Hammond, Ind., on Oct. 9, 1979, Rashad was the second pioneering DJ from Chicago to die in less than a month. Frankie Knuckles died March 31 after laying the foundation for house music at his Warehouse club in the late 1970s and early ‘80s.
First as a dancer and then as a DJ, Rashad was known for his work in the musical genres of house and juke — super-fast rhythms that, according to the Chicago Tribune, “fired up dancers to battle for money or street fame.”
“Speed and athleticism were at a premium as a dancer would break from the outer circle of onlookers to demonstrate rapid-fire steps such as the dribble, skate and bang,” the Tribune said.
More recently, those forms evolved into footwork, an avant-garde offshoot in which Harden became known as a producer and recording craftsman.
Released last year, his fifth LP, “Double Cup,” was a “landmark footwork album … that chopped up beats into ever more eccentric and haunting combinations,” the Tribune said. “On the track ‘Let U No,’ the vocals become part of a hypnotic landscape of rhythm, while a gentle roller coaster of a synthesizer melody glides above.”
Rashad was scheduled to perform in Detroit Saturday evening and had been booked to play L.A.’s Bootleg Theater on May 8. An extended-play record was set for release Monday.
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