Robert Pera, you got yourself an NBA team. At age 34. Thanks for making the rest of us feel like slackers.
At its Board of Governor’s meetings this week — where the owners get together and decide all things NBA — they formally approved the sale of the Memphis Grizzlies to billionaire Robert Pera.
“We are delighted that the NBA’s Board of Governors has approved Robert Pera’s purchase of the Grizzlies,” said NBA Commissioner David Stern in a released statement. “Robert will no doubt bring great energy and passion to the franchise. He has assembled an ownership group with very strong local ties, and we anticipate that their commitment to the Memphis area will greatly benefit both the team and the community.”
While the sale price is not public it is believed to be in the $350 million range. When the stock price for Pera’s company Ubiquiti Networks took a hit in recent months, some thought threatening the sale, Pera brought in a number of minority owners included some from the Memphis business community as well as celebrities such as Justin Timberlake and Peyton Manning and his wife (she and Timberlake are Memphis natives). Also in is former NBA player Penny Hardaway.
Outgoing owner Michael Heisley is not exactly going to be missed by the fan base. He had a reputation for being stingy and making unpopular decisions with players. However, in the last few years the Grizzlies have been built into a solid team.
That is not a team that is moving — Pera reportedly has no plans to move the franchise to another city. It would be painful to do so anyway, the Grizzlies have a rock-solid lease with the FedEx Forum through 2021. At least nine more seasons.
But we don’t know what other changes Pera may want to make in the organization.
Pera is a former Apple engineer who founded wireless company Ubiquiti Networks, which is where he made his money primarily selling in developing countries. According to a Forbes Magazine profile he is an avid basketball fan who lives a very no frills life — leases his car, lives in a one-bedroom apartment, the kind of guy who doesn’t check a bag when he travels.
Owning an NBA team is a big frill.
Penny, The Worm, The Glove, Uncle Cliffy, and more players with awesome nicknames are going to Asia
Think back to 1995 when the unstoppable Chicago Bulls with Pippen and Rodman were battling the beasts in East like Penny Hardaway and the Orlando Magic & Western conference teams like the Supersonics lead by Gary Payton and the Houston Rockets with Clyde Drexler. It was to many basketball fans the greatest time in NBA history and in December of 2011 many of the legends from that era will be reunited for an Asia Tour.
Aside from the players above the tour will also feature Larry Johnson, Horace Grant, Vin Baker, Mitch Richmond, Dale Ellis, Kenny Anderson and Cliff Robinson.
If you’re planning on being in Macao on December 18th this year, this may very well be checking out.
Dwight Howard wants Magic to retire Penny’s number
Should the Orlando Magic retire the number No. 1 jersey of Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway?
Here are the stats: Hardaway played six years in Orlando, was a four-time All-Star in that span, helped the Magic reach the NBA finals, was two-time First Team All NBA, and along with Shaquille O’Neal helped put the Magic on the map as a franchise. He was big in the community, but injuries took its toll on his game.
“I think when the season starts – whenever that may be – he should have his jersey put up for what he did not just the team, but for the city,” Howard said. “We all know how great Penny has been for the game of basketball.”
Penny played in Howard’s Orlando charity game recently and got the loudest ovation of all the players, the Sentinel reports. Maybe there is a groundswell of support for that in Orlando.
The question is, what is the line where you say a player has done enough, is big enough to get a number retired?
For Dwight Howard, not moving on next summer might be enough.
If Penny does get his jersey retired, I want ‘lil Penny to do the introduction.
Penny Hardaway part of Howard’s Orlando charity game
For his Nov. 13 charity game in Orlando Howard has brought in some big names to thrill the crowd — like Penny Hardaway. (That’s big Penny, not ‘lil Penny.) And some to remind them of old wounds — hello Vince Carter and Steve Francis.
(Howard’s manager Kevin) Samples said the D12 Foundation also has received commitments from Gilbert Arenas, Trevor Ariza, Carlos Arroyo, Matt Barnes, Brandon Bass, Earl Clark, Drew Gooden, Rashard Lewis, Mike Miller, Nelson, Jason and DeShawn Stevenson.
Those commitments are in addition to Ryan Anderson,Chris Duhon, Quentin Richardson and Daniel Orton, who have told the Orlando Sentinel directly or through their agents that they expect to play.
That should make for an entertaining show. Not as entertaining as an actual Orlando Magic game would be, although that team comes with its own set of challenges and heartbreaks.
Friday Night Video: Don’t forget how good Penny Hardaway was
Say “Penny” Hardaway and too many people now think of ‘lil Penny, the wise cracking puppet Penny. Nike marketing sticks with you like that.
But lest we forget that Anfernee Hardaway could ball, we bring you his top 10 plays from the 1994-96 season. This is just a series of highlights that don’t show off what a pretty floater in the lane, how he was a guard that understood how to use his size to get off shots.
Injuries robbed him of some great years, which is sad. Enjoy, and remember Hardaway was more than the guy with the puppet.