Inside billionaire Red McCombs’ incredible career before his death from getting Spurs into NBA to owning 400 businesses

LEGENDARY Texas businessman Red McCombs has died at the age of 95.

Formerly the owner of the San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets, and Minnesota Vikings, McCombs’s passing was announced on Monday.


McCombs passed away on Sunday
The 'Big Red' corner at the Circuit Of The Americas was named after him


The ‘Big Red’ corner at the Circuit Of The Americas was named after him

His family said in a statement: “Red was a visionary entrepreneur who touched many lives and impacted our community in immeasurable ways.

“But to us he was always, first and foremost, ‘Dad’ or ‘Poppop.’

“We mourn the loss of a Texas icon.”

McCombs’ wife, Charline, sadly passed away in 2019.

The couple had three children, Lynda McCombs, Marsha Shields, and Connie McNab, eight grandchildren, and 11 grandchildren.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver later responded to the news of McComb’s passing, calling him “an innovator and savvy entrepreneur,” per KSAT.

He said: “Red McCombs brought the Spurs to San Antonio and was a driving force in creating the modern NBA.

“He was an innovator and savvy entrepreneur who never shied away from taking risks.

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“We mourn Red’s passing and send our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends and the Spurs organization.”

According to McCombs Enterprises, McCombs had over 400 businesses during his lifetime.

These included numerous automotive dealerships under the Red McCombs Automotive brand, an oil and gas company called McCombs Energy, and Clear Channel Communications – now known as iHeartCommunications, Inc.

But for many, he will forever be remembered for his impact on the sporting world.

After purchasing the ABA’s Dallas Chaparrals, he moved them to San Antonio for the 1973-74 season, per ESPN.

Speaking to the Houston Chronicle, Spurs legend and NBA Hall of Famer George Gervin said McCombs’ “impact” on the city of San Antonio was “unbelievable.”

“We always say, ‘Everything Red touches turns to gold.’ It’s a reality. His vision for this city, his vision for the Spurs. 

“We named them (the Spurs) after the city (Spur, Texas) he grew up in. So that tells you a lot about his influence on the Spurs.”

Described by ESPN as “instrumental in getting the Spurs into the NBA as part of the ABA-NBA merger in 1976,” McCombs later sold his stake in the team in 1982.

A three-year stint as the owner of the Denver Nuggets followed before he repurchased his stake in the Spurs in 1986.

Two years later, he purchased the remainder of the Spurs.

Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich also paid tribute to his “good friend and mentor,” saying: “Red was a true icon. A Texas legend.

“It’s impossible to overstate the impact he had on the City of San Antonio. Perhaps, his most impressive trait was his commitment to community.

“Red and Charline impacted tens of thousands of lives, here in San Antonio and across Texas.

“From multimillion dollar donations to flying a stranded Little League team back to San Antonio, the McCombs family has always put community first.

“To me, most of all, he was a good friend and mentor.”

Fast-forward to 1993 and he departed San Antonio once more, moving into NFL ownership in 1998.

Seven years on, he flipped his $246million purchase for $600million.

Described by the Vikings in a statement as a man who “embodied his famous ‘Purple Pride’ phrase,” McCombs was also a supporter of the University of Texas Longhorns.

Mack Brown, who coached UT from 1998-2013, tweeted: “Saddened to hear that Red McCombs has passed away. He was a giant of a man and a dear friend.

“My life is so much better for having known him and he will definitely be missed. Sending our thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.”

A multi-million dollar donor to UT, per KXAN, their School of Business, softball field, and a section of the Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium’s north end-zone all bear his name.

And his name will also live on in the racing world.

An investor in Austin’s Circuit of the Americas – home of the U.S. Grand Prix – the first corner was previously named in his honor.

Racing legend Mario Andretti tweeted: “Race fans will be forever grateful for Red McCombs, the visionary investor who helped fund the internationally famous race track Circuit of the Americas.

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“A wonderful friend to motorsports and certainly a friend of mine. RIP Red.”

According to Forbes, McCombs had a staggering net worth of $1.7billion at the time of his passing.

The McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas was named in his honor


The McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas was named in his honorCredit: Getty

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