SBJ/June 4 - 10, 2001/No Topic Name

Memphis’ Hyde planning to be active co-owner

Should the Vancouver Grizzlies move to Memphis, Tenn., lead investor J.R. "Pitt" Hyde, founder of AutoZone Inc., won't take a back seat as a minority owner.

Hyde, who is leading the effort to bring the Grizzlies to Memphis by offering to pay about $100 million for up to 50 percent of the team, said he expects to take an active role in the Grizzlies.

"I see my role as helping acclimate the team to Memphis and to help assure that the right community programs are in place," Hyde said. "I will be active in the organization. [Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley] has made it clear that he'll be looking to us for input and direction. Also, we will be very interested in working with the design of the arena."

NBA Commissioner David Stern and the league's seven-member relocation committee met with Memphis officials Tuesday over the city's bid to lure the Grizzlies from Vancouver. The relocation committee poked around the Pyramid, the facility that would serve as the Grizzlies' temporary home, but it's the proposed new arena that will determine whether Memphis is awarded the Grizzlies.

The proposed $250 million arena is almost entirely publicly financed, with about $20 million to come from local corporate donors. The Grizzlies also would get $100 million from a naming-rights deal from Memphis-based Federal Express.

City and county officials must approve the funding. After spending a day visiting Memphis, NBA officials left town telling local officials that they need to lock up financing for an arena no later than mid-June.

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AutoZone, NBA

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