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Grizzlies new owner breaks silence, still doesn’t say much

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Over the past few months Robert Pera — the 34-year-old Silocone Valley entrepreneur trying to purchase the Memphis Grizzlies — has stayed quiet while the world has buzzed around him.

the 34-year-old billionaire hasn’t spoken much at all about his efforts to buy the Grizzles, something tat David Stern likely suggested. He also hasn’t spoken about the company he founded, Ubiquiti Networks Inc., seeing its stock price fall by more than half since the spring.

Finally he decided to explain what was going on to the San Jose Business Journal (via the Commercial Appeal), except he still really didn’t say anything interesting about the Grizzlies at all. (Quote via the Commercial Appeal.)

“When I was growing up, if I could do anything in the world, I wanted to be a professional athlete,” Pera, 34, said in the interview with reporter Diana Samuels. “For a long time my dream was always to be in a position to maybe be involved in an NBA team. I played as a kid, all growing up and in high school, and I’ve been a big fan of the NBA, so I have season tickets to the (Golden State) Warriors. I played fantasy league a couple years, and I play a few times a week.”

There you go. That’s your insight. (He’s a little more insightful on Ubiquiti, but just a little.)

Pera is currently going through the NBA’s background check procedure so the sale of the team is not official yet. It likely will be before the NBA season starts.

Perra is also still trying to help round up local ownership, reports the Commercial Appeal.

Pera is actively seeking local partners. He flew to Colorado last month to meet with AutoZone founder and current local partner J.R. “Pitt” Hyde. Pera has also been in Memphis recently. It’s unclear with whom he met, though sources confirmed he met with FedEx CEO Fred Smith and other FedEx leaders.

Glenn Robinson III does his best to salvage Dunk Contest, gets victory in process

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NEW ORLEANS — This year’s NBA All-Star Dunk Contest was doomed to disappoint, it was never going to match last year’s epic battle. It started in a hole.

It never climbed out. Don’t take my word for it, check out what JaVale McGee thought.

Saturday was an underwhelming night of dunks punctuated by a couple of moments of brilliance.

The Pacers’ Glenn Robinson III had the most of those moments — which is why he won the event. His strong night started with his first dunk, which may well have been the best of the contest.

The final one from Robinson, the one that sealed the victory, may be the other best dunk of the competition — dunking over Paul George, the Pacers mascot, and a Pacers dancer.

“I originally planned for it just to be PG (Paul George),” Robinson said afterward. “I knew I had to bring out something special. We added the mascot and the cheerleader. I really just wanted to get up high and dunk that thing hard, man. My adrenaline was going. It felt like I was looking at the rim. All I knew was the crowd go crazy. I pointed like this because, man, everybody seemed to sleep on me, didn’t really think I was going to win this thing.”

Event favorite Aaron Gordon, who should have won a year ago, opened the contest with an innovative idea — a drone dunk — but he couldn’t execute it and there were a few attempts before he nailed it.

Gordon didn’t advance out of the first round, and his first dunk summed up the 2017 Dunk Contest — interesting ideas that didn’t quite pan out like planned. (To be fair, Gordon has been battling injuries recently, that may have thrown him off).

If it wasn’t going to be Gordon, a lot of people expected it to be the bouncy Suns forward Derrick Jones Jr. who won, and he reached the Finals in part thanks to this spectacular dunk that woke the Smoothie King Center up.

DeAndre Jordan was okay, but without Chris Paul throwing him lobs it didn’t quite feel the same. Jordan can dunk with such power in game, but we didn’t see that Saturday.

In the end, it was Gordon who was making the plays.

“I’m not really a known dunker,” Robinson said. “I practiced. I prepared. I know I’m a jumper. And like I said, I’m a guy that stays out of the way. But when it’s time to shine, that’s my thing. That’s what I wanted to do. I knew all along I had some things planned, and I just wanted to show the world.”

Glenn Robinson III wins underwhelming dunk contest on over-people, below-rim dunk (video)

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NEW ORLEANS — Glenn Robinson III won the dunk contest with the second-best dunk of the night, going over a few people and under the rim — a narrow path to slamming victory.

It would’ve rated as the event’s best dunk if he were truly under the rim rather than somewhat in front of it. And he did have the best body of work to win the contest.

But the best single dunk was still by runner-up Derrick Jones Jr., who went between the legs on a pass off the side of the backboard.

NBA stars shoot threes to raise $500,000 for Sager Strong Foundation in touching moment

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NEW ORLEANS — The spirit of Craig Sager is strong during All-Star weekend in The Big Easy and he’s going to get a spot in the Hall of Fame, deservedly so.

After Eric Gordon won the Three-Point Contest, he and the other finalists Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker stayed on the court to shoot threes to raise money for the Sager Strong Foundation — they would shoot threes for a minute and for each make the foundation would get $10,000. Then they brought out help — Reggie Miller, James Harden, DeMar DeRozan, DJ Khaled, and others to knock down shots. That raised $130,000.

Stephen Curry tried to push that to $500,000, but it was Sager’s son that actually did it (with an assist from Shaquille O’Neal).

It was a touching moment for a great cause.

Derrick Jones Jr. catches pass off side of backboard, jams between-legs dunk (video)

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NEW ORLEANS — With defending runner-up Aaron Gordon eliminated in the first round, Suns forward Derrick Jones Jr. might be our best hope to save the dunk contest.