Not only is Chris Vernon one of our favorite radio hosts, he's basically the go-to voice of Memphis sports. So when the man behind the Chris Vernon Show on 92.9 ESPN reports some scoopage, we tend to listen. And if his reports are correct, we have a doozy: Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has agreed to join Justin Timberlake and Memphis-bred former NBA All-Star Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway as minority owners in a Robert Pera-led group attempting to buy the Memphis Grizzlies.
That's three pretty significant stars, including two in JT and Penny that were raised around Memphis, hoping to take a piece of one of the NBA's smaller market teams. Here's Vernon's tweets on the subject:
Of course, we're still a ways away from seeing this famous triptych on the sidelines of a Grizzlies game, dodging the fallout when Tony Allen accidentally punts the ball off his knee on a layup attempt.
Current owner Michael Heisley has been open and candid about his attempts to sell the team, a franchise that has made the playoffs two consecutive seasons in front of rabid crowds at a new arena, but one that for years has worked with a big-market-sized payroll. Potential new majority owner Robert Pera is still working through the ins and outs of developing a team to present to the NBA's board of governors, but even in this current midway stage the deal might not go through until later in the 2012-13 NBA season.
(Which leaves Timberlake more than enough time to put out another album, if he wouldn't mind. We're running out of Johnny Mathis records to woo the ladies with, JT.)
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It's a potential move well worth paying attention to, though. Outside of Michael Jordan's majority stake in the Charlotte Bobcats, Magic Johnson's weirdness with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Wayne Gretzky's since-relinquished minority piece of the Phoenix Coyotes, there aren't many MVP-styled players taking on ownership reins in pro sports. And certainly none attempting a sport crossover like Manning. Peyton has done well on and off the field, financially, in his 15-year NFL career, and purchasing a stake (no matter how small) in one of the more dynamic and entertaining NBA teams out there (a squad just up the Mississippi River from his Louisiana home) seems like a pretty sound move.
A potentially sound move, we should remind, for now.
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