[Desi Spotting = items with a South Asian connection - see our archive]
We will keep this post updated as we learn more. Please share your comments/updates in the comments section below. We are also looking for folks who know him.
UPDATE: See below for comments from SAJAer Aisha Sultan of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
We did some Desi Spotting earlier this week that allegedly had a sports connection (the first South Asian model in the annual Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue), but here's a real sport story.
Khan, 55, is the president of Flex-N-Gate Corp., an auto-parts manufacturer based in Urbana, Ill. Khan has lived in the Champaign-Urbana area for more than 40 years and is married with two adult children. Khan is a graduate of the School of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Illinois.
According to league sources, Khan will purchase the 60 percent of the team owned by siblings [Chip] Rosenbloom and [Lucia] Rodriguez, who inherited the franchise from their late mother, Georgia Frontiere, in early 2008. NFL owners must approve the sale.
The deal could also mean that Rams fans can breathe a sigh of relief. Sources close to Khan told the Post-Dispatch that "Khan is willing to work with local leaders in an effort to assure the team's long-term future in St. Louis. A source noted Khan's deep and stable roots in central Illinois as a sign that he wants to own an NFL franchise in St. Louis — and in no other market."
The deal won't be finalized until March and all sales of a team must be finalized by a vote of NFL owners.
- Read a 2000 lecture he gave at the University of Illinois about entrepreneurship.
- See Flex-N-Gate's official website.
This makes him the second South Asian to own a North American major-league sports team. Sanjay Kumar of Computer Associates (who was born in Sri Lanka), now serving a prison term for securities fraud, bought the New York Islanders hockey team with CA chairman and mentor Charles Wang in 2000 (Wang bought our Kumar in 2006).
And, yes, it's already been noted that Shah Rukh Khan's movie, "My Name Is Khan" open today in US theaters (see our SAJA video interview with this other Khan).
Post your comments below - and if you have more info/insight about him, please share here or via firstname.lastname@example.org
==> Asked for a comment, SAJAer Aisha Sultan, a columnist, blogger and home and family editor for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and a fellow Pakistani-American, sent this e-mail to SAJAforum:
Was amazed by the Rams news all day yesterday.
In one of the best sports cities in the country, the face of our NFL football team will be one of a successful Pakistani American. This is huge.
My brother-in-law, Ahmed Mattoo, has a sports talk show on the desi radio channel in Houston. Here's what he had to say via Facebook:
"It's exciting! A Pakistani guy buys an NFL team. WHAT! You'd think its sounds crazy, but it about time our people get involved in pro sports in America. We need this just as much as we need people in politics, media, or other areas of influence. This being the ultimate, b/c he'll be the face of a franchise and a city. I'm interested to hear what he has to say. I know he is about to spend some serious "dinero" on the purchase, but theres big potential here for other things....Lets see what happens, the NFL owners will vote on it first. He needs 75% of the vote in order to make him the next owner (24 out of 32 votes) . Each owner gets a vote. There 32 NFL teams."This purchase will be big topic of his show Saturday night:
"The Sports Lounge" airs Sat. night- 10pm to Midnight CST on 1460AM. Listeners can call in @ 281-983-9292 or email at SportsLounge1460AM[at]gmail.com. Streams live at www.KBRZradio.com. follow on Twitter: www.twitter.com/SportsLounge
Also: check out the column I wrote last week about the experience of watching football with my immigrant father:
Home and Family editor
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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