New Grizz Ownership Could Include Manning, Hardaway

By Andy Meek

A source close to Robert Pera, the California businessman in the process of buying the Memphis Grizzlies, has confirmed the addition of a few new names to what will be the new ownership of the Grizzlies.

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and his wife, Ashley, a Memphis native, as well as former NBA and University of Memphis basketball star Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway will be among the new Grizz ownership.

Hardaway released a statement Thursday afternoon.

“This is not just an investment in a sports team, it’s a way for me to give back to the people of Memphis in thanks for their supporting me,” he said. “When I was a child my grandmother told me, ‘Do for your community, do for your people, do what God puts in your heart.’  God puts in my heart to just give. The other local investors share this same commitment to Memphis, so I know the new Grizzlies owners will take more of a leadership role in making the team better.”

The potential new ownership team has been expanding quickly in recent weeks, including the likes of pop star Justin Timberlake and former Memphis congressman Harold Ford Jr. A source involved in the deal, which is still evolving and is not yet official, told The Daily News recently the local ownership participants will likely top out at between 10 and 12 people.

Pera is the founder of Ubiquiti Networks Inc., a Silicon Valley technology company he started after leaving Apple Inc. After word of his bid to buy the Grizzlies from current owner Michael Heisley became public earlier this year, Pera’s camp took pains to point out that his addition of local ownership elements was by choice, partly to give local fans assurance that the team isn’t going anywhere.