SBD/October 5, 2012/Franchises

Peyton Manning, Penny Hardaway The Latest High-Profile Investors In Grizzlies

Manning's wife, Ashley, was a key reason for the family getting involved with the team
Broncos QB Peyton Manning and his wife, Ashley, along with former Univ. of Memphis basketball player Penny Hardaway, "have agreed to become limited partners" in Robert Pera's prospective Grizzlies ownership group, according to sources cited by Kyle Veazey of the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL. The group includes recent additions such as "pop star and actor Justin Timberlake and former congressman Harold Ford Jr." A source said that former UM basketball player Elliot Perry "has also agreed to be a partner." Perry is a limited partner in Michael Heisley’s ownership group. Hardaway said, "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" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 10/5). The AP's Teresa Walker reported Peyton Manning's name is "not expected to be on any of the paperwork involved." Ashley Manning is a Memphis native, and Peyton in a statement said that he is "proud of his wife as she pursues this opportunity." NFL VP/PR Greg Aiello said that Peyton Manning's involvement "will not be a conflict ... with the NFL" (AP, 10/4). ESPN Radio's Chris Vernon, who broke the story Thursday, asked, "Could you get a bigger celebrity endorsement?" Vernon said of Pera getting this ownership group together, "This is some of the greatest recruiting I've seen in my life" ("The Chris Vernon Show," ESPN Radio 92.9 Memphis, 10/4). 
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