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PHOENIX-NBA great Alton Lister is on the hunt for a location somewhere in the Valley to open the first of several restaurants.

Lister, who played for 17 seasons, has signed development agreement with Dallas-based Wingstop Restaurants to open its first restaurant in Arizona. Lister has his sights set on a location somewhere in the East Valley, which includes the suburbs of Tempe, Chandler, Mesa and Gilbert.

“My research has shown that going into a franchise rather than a start-up business has a much higher rate of success,” Lister says. He has enlisted the aid of commercial real estate firm Real Estate Services LLC for a site selection search. The focus so far has been on the East Valley, say company representatives.

Wingstop, which features a nostalgic, aviation-themed restaurant, has been a successful franchisee in Texas, Alabama, Georgia, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Missouri, Colorado, Florida and Illinois. The company has 28 restaurants currently open and another 47 in development.

In 17 NBA seasons, Lister made his mark as one of the leagues top defensive players. He played for the Portland Trail Blazers, Milwaukee Bucks and Seattle Supersonics. He was a member of the 1980 Olympic Basketball Team and had been ranked in the Top 10 in the NBA for shot blocking five times.

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