Whatever happened to … Stan Kasten

He now directs Dodgers but still has a home in Atlanta

What he did: The fiery and opinionated sports executive left behind quite a legacy when he left town for the Washington Nationals in 2006. Kasten was the mastermind behind both Philips Arena and Turner Field, but perhaps the biggest impact he had came in December 1990 when he hired John Schuerholz to be the general manager of the Braves, beginning a run of division titles in baseball that had never been seen before and probably will never be seen again.

For Kasten, a graduate of New York University who received his law degree at Columbia, it all started in 1979 with an impromptu meeting with Hawks and Braves owner Ted Turner. At 27, Kasten became the youngest general manager in the NBA. He won back-to-back NBA Executive of the Year Awards (1986 and ’87) and also became president of both the Braves and Hawks in 1986 before relinquishing his GM position four years later with the Hawks to be able to focus more on both clubs.

With the Braves, Kasten’s teams won 14 straight division titles, five National League pennants and a World Series title in 1995. He was instrumental in getting the deal worked out with the Atlanta Olympic organizing committee to convert the stadium to Turner Field and then was behind the building of Philips Arena, which opened in 1999. When Turner brought the NHL Thrashers to town, Kasten became president of his third club, holding all three titles until 2003 when the clubs were sold off and he stepped down from all three organizations.

Three years later, Kasten headed to Washington to build the expansion team there and also was behind the development of the new Nationals ballpark. Kasten left in 2010 before putting together an ownership group including Magic Johnson to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers for $2.15 billion. The Nationals, meanwhile, have won two of the last three NL East titles under a front office that Kasten built and today he is part owner of perhaps the National League’s most storied franchise, as well as their president.

Where he lives: Now 64, Kasten still has a home in Atlanta, but says he spends 90 percent of the time in Los Angeles. He has been married to Helen for 37 years and has four children (Alana, Corey, Sherry and Jay) and six grandchildren.

What he does now: President and part owner of the Dodgers, Kasten is getting ready for a postseason run as the team currently sits on top of the NL West and leads the majors in attendance at 46,506 fans a game. Coincidentally, he said that he spent one night of his honeymoon back in 1977 with Helen at Dodger Stadium.

On whether he misses Atlanta: "I love Atlanta. It is one of the great and under-appreciated cities in the country. That is why I have kept my family there. One conclusion I have told people is every day wasn't great, but my memories are great. That is sort of a nice thing.''

On being an owner as well as the team president in Los Angeles: "There is not a lot of difference. The ownership thing is just on a piece of paper somewhere. It's full time running this team."

On owning the Dodgers with Magic Johnson: "Everything about this is cool. I tell people with all I have done and the good fortune I have had, there is nothing like quite like this. The stage we are on, the second-biggest city in America, the entertainment capital of the world, the iconic historic nature of this franchise … it's awesome.''

On the rebirth of baseball since the steroid era: "It has come back strong. Maybe it took longer than it should have but baseball did a good job of combating the problem. The fans have responded and baseball still draws more fans than the other sports in the world. We are also the leader in internet usage because we have so many games. The sport is still growing.''

On how he felt about the induction of Braves greats Bobby Cox, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux into the Baseball Hall of Fame: "I was there with all of them. I am very proud of all of them. We will have more occasions like that over the next three or five years, a true team accomplishment. I am proud of my own role. I tell everyone: Who has three close friends that go in at the same time? It was very much a reunion. And while New York City was only a couple of hours away, the biggest ovations came for the Braves guys because of all the fans that came up from Atlanta.''

On his days in Washington: "I loved the city, the energy, the most important city in the world. We had the opportunity to build a stadium … a terrific experience. I worked very hard to create a no-politics zone and have a lot of people on both sides of the aisle. That whole front office there are my guys and they are doing great.''

On the recent issues with the Hawks: "I know all of the people there. For someone that has a passionate connection to the Hawks, it was a troubling and sad week. The real good ray of light that we have is a strong confident man in the middle and that is (president) Steve Koonin. Without him it would be a lot uglier. With him there is a bright future. It was like the (Clippers and racial remarks by owner Donald Sterling) deal with Doc Rivers in Los Angeles. If Doc wasn't in place, it would have been much worse. Same with Koonin."

On the domestic violence issue in the NFL: "I am very interested in the reactions. Ninety-nine percent of what you do in sports is really good. We cheer up people's lives. We need to cut those types of situations down to zero. This is a learning experience for all of us so we can put things in place ahead of time."

On the demise of Turner Field when the Braves move to Cobb County: "I understand the business. I don't get tied to buildings. I get tied to franchises. They are going to have a fantastic new place.''