SBD/Issue 57/Franchises

Prospective Grizzlies Owners Met With Skepticism In Memphis

Davis Continues To Remain
Silent On Investment Group
Prospective Grizzlies Majority Owner Brian Davis has “submitted — but not finalized — his ownership application to the NBA,” and he “anticipates a league vote by late December or early January” on his group’s bid to buy Michael Heisley’s 70% share of the team, according to David Williams of the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL. Davis, in a meeting with Commercial Appeal editors and writers, said, “During this process, I can’t make my investors public.” He did say that he and partner Christian Laettner “would have two to five partners,” a “slightly smaller group than Davis outlined when his bid was announced” October 2 and “significantly smaller than was suggested” by a confidential document, dated October 25, that said Davis’ group would sell ownership units starting at $2M. Davis and Laettner have “drawn public and media criticism for some of their comments and actions since being introduced as owners-to-be,” most recently for Davis telling the Wall Street Journal Memphis “just needs a downtown.” Clarifying those remarks, Davis said “I said what we were looking to do was create a 24-hour downtown.” Williams noted the Commercial Appeal’s session with Davis and Laettner “was at times contentious.” Davis said of his group’s pursuit of the club: “The negativity has been too much for me to even explain. I don’t understand it.” Laettner asked, “Why all the skepticism? ... Have we been cons and frauds before?” (COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 12/2).

REAX: A COMMERCIAL APPEAL editorial states, “It’s unfair to pass judgment on Davis and Laettner until they’ve had an opportunity to present their case to the NBA. League commissioner David Stern and his staff will no doubt scrutinize their financial plans very carefully” (COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 12/4). In Memphis, Geoff Calkins writes, “Putting aside the public relations missteps Davis has made since he first surfaced in Memphis, the deal he has assembled is hard to understand. ... The city is going to scrutinize him. The press is going to scrutinize him. The NBA had better scrutinize him like they’ve scrutinized few before. And then, if Davis passes muster, we’ll all celebrate together” (COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 12/2).

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Franchises, Memphis Grizzlies, NBA

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