Ashley Manning, the wife of Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, is reportedly making a bid to become a minority owner of the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies.
Manning is just one party involved in the group being put together by prospective owner Robert J. Pera. A source familiar with the deal told the Associated Press that other parties include former NBA player Penny Hardaway, actor Justin Timberlake and a couple of Memphis businessmen.
The addition of Manning and Hardaway, first reported by The Chris Vernon Show on WMFS-FM on Thursday, is reportedly an effort to keep the team in Memphis, where the starting quarterback’s wife grew up.
"I am proud of Ashley as she pursues this opportunity with the Memphis Grizzlies," Peyton Manning said in a statement. "While my focus is on playing quarterback for the Denver Broncos, I look forward to watching her become involved with her hometown team."
Peyton Manning's name is not on the application for the purchase, according to the Denver Post.
Timberlake and Hardaway also have ties to the Tennessee city, as the actor was born there and the former NBA star played college basketball and attended classes at then-Memphis State.
Pera, owner of a California tech company, agreed to buy the Grizzlies from Michael Heisley in June for $350 million. The NBA is expected to approve the sale this month.
The AP reports that while the deal was in the process of being approved, Pera has been busy lobbying for minority owners which now reportedly includes AutoZone founder J.R. ''Pit'' Hyde and businessman Staley Cate.
Grizzlies guard Mike Conley spoke to reporters Tuesday saying, the ownership change will not affect the players themselves or change what they are trying to accomplish in the upcoming season.
Conley added that they all have heard about Pera, a former Apple engineer who left in 2005 to start Ubiquiti Networks, a communications technology company that makes WiFi networking equipment.
''We've heard a lot of good things about him, and his intentions are all good,'' Conley said. ''I know the city of Memphis should be excited. As a team, we are excited. It's going to be a different expectation for us, and we're just looking forward to taking it on.''
The Grizzlies open the season Oct. 31 at the Los Angeles Clippers.
My name is Carey Vanderborg and I'm a journalist working in New York City. I love food, travel, craft beer, live music and writing about all of the above.