Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel tied the knot in Italy this week. The wedding officially added another big-time celebrity to the list of soon-to-be owners of the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies will be under new ownership for the first time since Michael Heisley relocated the Vancouver based franchise to Memphis. Robert Pera is in the final stages of purchasing the team, and if everything goes as planned he will be the new majority owner any day now. One of the things that have so many fans excited about the change in ownership is the fact that Pera is gathering local business owners and celebrities to own a portion of the team as well. He has done a great job adding stars from all sectors of entertainment including a former congressman, a Grammy Award winner, a NFL MVP, and a NBA legend. However, how does this star studded minority ownership group stack up against some of the others in professional sports?
Here are the Top 5 celebrity owned franchises in professional sports:
5. Brooklyn Nets
The Nets have one of the most famous owners in all of sports. Jay-Z has 14 platinum albums and half of those are multiplatinum! He is one of the most influential people in the music industry today, worth over $460 million. However, the fact that Jigga and his wife Beyonce are the only superstars in the Brooklyn Nets owner’s box prevents the Nets from ranking any higher on this list.
4. Philadelphia 76ers
Jason Levien is a name that you may not recognize, but he is an agent that has represented Luol Deng, Kevin Martin, and Udonis Haslem. He is also a minority owner of the 76ers, but not the reason they make the list. The biggest stars in this owner’s box are none other than Hollywood power couple Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. We all know that Smith is from West Philadelphia (born and raised), so it makes sense for him to own a piece of the team that he cheered for as a kid. And when you add Mrs. Smith who is known for her role in the TNT series Hawthorne, you have a team with some serious star power in the owner’s box.
3. LA Dodgers
The Dodgers were in desperate need of an owner after former owner Frank McCourt was ousted by the MLB. Enter the Guggenheim Partners whose star studded group is trying to return the Dodgers to MLB relevance. Magic Johnson is without a doubt the most recognizable member of the group. After all, he is a five time NBA champion, three-time NBA MVP, and a nine-time All-NBA First Team selection. Yet, there are some other notable names in the group too. Stan Kasten is a member of the Guggenheim Partners and is best known as the former Atlanta Hawks General Manager and the former President of the Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Thrashers, and Washington Nationals. This group also includes one of the most famous producers in Hollywood, Peter Guber. Some of his more popular movies include Rain Man, Batman, Midnight Express, and The Color Purple.
2. Memphis Grizzlies
Robert Pera’s ability to get celebrities interested in purchasing shares of the Memphis Grizzlies has been great so far. Memphis makes the list because of the diverse group of new minority owners. Justin Timberlake who after spending several years in one of the best boy bands ever, had an impressive solo career, is a six time Grammy Award winner, and he recently married one of the sexiest women in Hollywood, Jessica Biel. The two should “bring sexy back” to the Grizzlies franchise, and who knows, we might even see Timbaland in the stands for some home games this season. Also in the minority owner group is former Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. and local basketball legend and 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway. Perhaps, the most intriguing minority owners are Peyton and Ashley Manning. Peyton is a five time NFL All-Pro, a four time NFL MVP and a Super Bowl Champion, while the Memphis-native Ashley is married to a five time NFL All-Pro, a four time NFL MVP and a Super Bowl Champion. Few teams can say they have this type of star power in their owner’s box.
1. Miami Dolphins
If star power in the ownership box accounted for wins on the football field, the Dolphins might be the favorites to win the Super Bowl. Stephen Ross is the majority owner, but few people know what he looks like. However, everybody knows at least one of the celebrities who hold claim to being minority owners for the Dolphins franchise. Jennifer Lopez and ex-husband Marc Anthony are a part of an ownership group that includes seven-time Grammy Award winner and “Queen of Latin Pop” Gloria Estefan, Jimmy Buffett, Black Eyed Peas member Fergie, and tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams.
CJ Hurt covers the Grizzlies for MemphiSport. Follow him @churtj09 for live tweets from FedExForum.
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