MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Welcome to Memphis. The new majority owner of the Memphis Grizzlies, Robert Pera, was introduced to the Bluff City Monday. The young billionaire takes over the team from Michael Heisley.
For the first time since it was announced he would become the new majority owner of the Memphis Grizzlies Robert Pera was seen and heard by several hundred people that packed the lobby at FedExForum.
"I consider myself very, very fortunate - probably the luckiest man in the world right now," he said. "I see how much the team brings Memphis together."
"We're fully committed to the community and leveraging the grizzlies and the brand name to make a positive impact on the community."
Pera, 34, bought the Grizzlies NBA franchise from former owner Michael Heisley for more than $370 million. He describes the team's new CEO, Jason Levien, as "a cross between Jerry Maguire and Ari Gold but smarter than both of them."
Levien said when he and Pera made their first visit to FedExForum he had to calm him down because Pera was so impressed he wanted to write a check immediately.
"I had Robert whisper in my ear from 10 minutes on, 'Jason I'm sold, let's do this, we got to do this!' I said, 'Robert, let's play poker a little and not act that interested.'"
Former congressman and Memphis native Harold Ford, Jr. said he jumped at the chance to join the ownership group after listening to Pera's sales pitch. "When he started talking about Memphis and continually talking about Memphis I got more and more excited."
Pera will attend his first game at FedExForum as owner of the Memphis Grizzlies when they tip off their home season opener against the Utah Jazz Monday night at 7 p.m.