Bryan Colangelo, Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations, resigned Thursday after his wife admitted to operating Twitter accounts that revealed sensitive information about the team and criticized team members while claiming to be Colangelo.
Colangelo’s wife, Barbara Bottini, admitted to establishing and operating the accounts, and an investigation by law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP found forensic evidence to corroborate her admissions.
“As a result of our investigation, we do not believe Mr. Colangelo established the Twitter accounts or posted content on those accounts. The evidence supports the conclusion that Ms. Barbara Bottini, Mr. Colangelo’s wife, established the Twitter accounts and posted content on those accounts. When interviewed, Ms. Bottini admitted to establishing and operating the accounts. Forensic evidence corroborates her admissions,” the law firm, New York-based Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP said Thursday.
Colangelo is the son of sports executive Jerry Colangelo, who currently serves as a special adviser to the Philadelphia 76ers, and his son plays college basketball at the University of Chicago. Here what you need to know about Colangelo’s family:
1. Jerry Colangelo was the Youngest General Manager in Professional Sports After Being Hired as GM for the Phoenix Suns
Jerry Colangelo is listed as a special adviser to the 76ers and is the chairman for USA Basketball. According to the New York Post, he originally took over as the 76ers’ chairman of basketball operations in 2015 when the franchise was sinking under Sam Hinkie, the GM at the time. After Hinkie resigned, Bryan Colangelo was able to take his spot.
He was born in Chicago Heights, Illinois and attended school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He grew up in a makeshift home in the Hungry Hills section of the Chicago Heights, and shared a room with his sister growing up.
Jerry Colangelo became the youngest general manager in professional sports in 1968 after being hired as general manager for the Phoenix Suns, according to Wikipedia. He has the second longest tenure running the same NBA franchise, exceeded only by Red Auerbach of the Boston Celtics.
Colangelo was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a contributor in 2004. According to USAB, “Colangelo stepped in to coach the Suns, including the 1969-70 season when he guided the club to a 24-20 mark down the stretch and to its first playoff appearance. He also took over in 1972-73 and compiled a 35-40 mark. Overall, Colangelo is 59-60 as an NBA coach.”
Jerry Colangelo formally owned the Phoenix Suns of the NBA, the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA, and the Arizona Sandsharks of the Continental Indoor Soccer League. He also owns the Arena Football League and the Arizona Diamondbacks of the MLB.
Jerry enjoys listening to Frank Sinatra and told the Philly Inquirer: “I always have Sinatra on,” Colangelo said. “The Italian neighborhood [near] Chicago I’m from, the two big names way back were Frank Sinatra and [former New York Yankees legend] Joe DiMaggio. I eventually met both of them.”
2. Jerry Colangelo Allegedly Threatened to Damage the Sixer’s Relationship with League Clubs if they Fired his Son
After news of the Twitter debacle broke, Jerry Colangelo allegedly pressured the Sixers to keep his son on board by threatening to potentially damage the team’s relationship with clubs around the league if he was fired, according to the PhillyVoice.
The delay was, in part, due to internal and external politics that ownership had to weigh. More than one person who spoke to PhillyVoice on the condition of anonymity suggested Jerry Colangelo tried to intervene on Bryan’s behalf, threatening to interfere with club relationships around the league.
However, at the 76ers ownership press conference announcing the move, primary owner Joshua Harris denied this report, saying that Jerry Colangelo cooperated with the investigation, according to NBC Sports.
“Jerry was not involved with the process in any way,” Harris said. “I am aware of the press report. It’s just not true.”
In fact, Jerry Colangelo reportedly refused to speak publicly on the matter until it was resolved or more information was known. He released a statement on May 30, claiming that he didn’t have any comments, besides stating: “There’s a lot of information, I’m not sure what are facts, what’s not, who said what to whom. You can suppose a lot of things but I’ve been around the track a few times myself, there are times to be patient and wait for more information.”
3. Barbara Bottini, Bryan’s Wife, Develops Digital Produces & Innovation for Global Brands like Nike & is Known as the “Backbone of Parent Organizations” at Her Son’s School
Bryan Colangelo has been married to his wife Barbara Bottini for several years. The couple has two children together: a son, Mattia, and a daughter, Sophia. When Bryan Colangelo was hired by the Sixers in 2016, Bottini stayed in Toronto to let her children finish the school year. The family now lives in the Philadelphia area.
Bottini is heavily involved in her son’s school, winning an award for being the “backbone of the parent organizations” in 2016.
“The backbone of the parent organizations at both the Prep and Upper School, Barbara has a gift for the kind of unifying leadership that brings people together to do great things,” the school wrote in an announcement about the award. “Barbara’s signature kindness, diplomacy and work ethic are present in all she does at UCC — which is a whole lot! Her myriad volunteer roles over the last decade include Parents’ Organization president, vice-president and president of the Parents’ Organization Executive Committee, A-Day co-chair, head of the Nutrition Committee, and Arts Booster Club board chair. With her son Mattia graduating this year, Barbara’s outstanding service and dedication to the College will be sorely missed.”
4. Mattia Colangelo is a Star Pupil in High School & His Sister Sophia is a Dancer
Mattia Colangelo played high school basketball at Upper Canada College in Toronto, where his father Bryan had been an executive with the Raptors. He now plays at the University of Chicago.
According to his player profile on the University of Chicago’s Athletics and Recreation site, Mattia has played in 24 games, averages 1 point and 1.1 rebound per game, and was a UAA All-Academic Team player for the 2017/2018 season.
The site lists that Mattia majors in economics, was on the Dead’s List, and is a three-year letterman, two-time captain, and two-time MVP of the school’s varsity basketball team. He was also named a Lang Scholar at Upper Canada College for “excellence in academics, athletics and character.”
Mattia was a star pupil, according to the site. Amongst everything else, he also won the Principal’s Award four years in a row and earned a bi-lingual International Baccalaureate diploma and the “Academic Tie” while graduating in the top 5% of his class.
According to an article in Sportsnet, Bryan’s daughter, Sophia, who is younger than Mattia, is a dancer. Both of the Colangelo children attended private schools in Toronto while they were living there, according to Toronto Life.
5. Bryan Colangelo Resigned After News Broke That His Wife was Behind the Twitter Burner Accounts
Bryan Colangelo reportedly resigned from his position after news of his wife’s indiscretions with the burner Twitter accounts surfaced.
A story by The Ringer brought to light the possibility that Colangelo had posted tweets from so-called burner accounts that were used to criticize current and former 76ers players. Colangelo had discussed with ownership and upper management the possibility that his wife may have been involved in the posting of the tweets and vehemently denied any involvement in the accounts, according to ESPN.
“I vigorously dispute the allegation that my conduct was in any way reckless” Colangelo said in a statement. “At no point did I ever purposefully or directly share any sensitive, non-public, club-related information with her.
Her actions were a seriously misguided effort to publicly defend and support me, and while I recognize how inappropriate these actions were, she acted independently and without my knowledge or consent. Further, the content she shared was filled with inaccuracies and conjecture which in no way represent my own views or opinions. While this was obviously a mistake, we are a family and we will work through this together.”
In a statement, 76ers Managing Partner Josh Harris said:
We appreciate Bryan’s many contributions during his time leading our basketball operations and thank him for the work he did in positioning the team for long-term success. An independent investigation by New York-based law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP was conducted into certain anonymous social media accounts that posted information concerning the club, personnel, and related topics.
It has become clear Bryan’s relationship with our team and his ability to lead the 76ers moving forward has been compromised. Recognizing the detrimental impact this matter had on the organization, Colangelo offered his resignation. We find the situation to be disappointing for our entire organization. We are determined to continue the tremendous progress we have made over the last two seasons in our quest to win an NBA Championship.
Bottini admitted to running the accounts, but the firm says its investigation was still “impeded by certain actions taken by Ms. Bottini, including her decision to delete the contents of her iPhone by executing a factory reset of the device prior to surrendering it for forensic review.”