It appears that Justin Timberlake and prospective Grizzlies owner Robert Pera are in sync. Timberlake will need to kiss the purple and gold of the Lakers bye bye bye. With all the positive news lately, it seems like years ago that the Clippers were tearing up the hearts of Grizz fans. The fans seem ready to tell their team, “I want you back” and they don’t have to wait long as the preseason is swiftly approaching. I could almost cry me a river just thinking about it. Oh, and add in your (less clever than you think) bringing Grizzly back joke.
OK, can we be done with that now? First, if you didn’t get any of that, it either means you are old or that I am old. Second, whatever Timberlake related joke you tweeted, I must tell you that (like the ones above) it wasn’t funny. Except maybe one about Grizz in a box. Nevermind…
Bringing in Timberlake is a slam dunk for the Grizzlies franchise.
What? You thought the bad jokes were over?
In actuality the news that Timberlake is on board is relatively significant. I doubt his investment will be a large one but the move isn’t about money. It is about image and a small market team like the Grizzlies should be capitalizing on any opportunity it can get in that department. The fact that one of the biggest stars in the world happens to be from here, loves NBA basketball and is roughly the same age as the prospective owner is plain luck. Never the less, two of those things have been true for the entire run of the team and Timberlake hasn’t been involved beyond occasionally attending a game.
Timberlake is a professed Laker fan so it will be interesting to see how that plays once the season is underway. I’m not sure an ownership stake in the Grizzlies will keep him out of a court-side seat at Staples. In fact, my guess is that he will attend more games at the Staples Center than the FedEx Forum.
Still, if he attends some Grizz games and sits court-side rather than hidden in a box, that is good for the team’s image. The larger benefit is that he becomes free exposure for the team. When a celebrity does an interview the host generally starts with the project being promoted, then moves to whatever Google reveals to be the latest news in the star’s life. If you don’t believe me, search “Timberlake” and “Mirimichi”. In the months after Timberlake opened Mirimichi, his renovated golf course just outside Memphis, almost every interview he gave contained at least a quick question about the project. Once the sale goes through, “partial NBA owner” will be one of his interview bullet points. Are the Grizzlies going to become a national team because JT talked to Jay Leno about the franchise for 45 seconds? No, but it is solid exposure that the team simply can’t get any other way.
The Grizzlies are a small market team that doesn’t have a superstar with a dynamic personality. In other words, Grizzlies players aren’t going to be hanging with Jimmy Fallon like Kevin Durant or Lebron James. The only way they are making a small dent in the national consciousness is by winning a championship or by having someone with a wide reach promoting them.
I don’t want to overstate the importance of the Timberlake news. There is also a possibility that he invests a little because he likes Pera but doesn’t become at all involved in the team. But that’s the beauty of the move: no real risk. At worst, his name is loosely attached to the franchise. At best, you have an A-list entertainer who appeals to a wide demographic promoting a team in little ole Memphis, Tennessee.
Hopefully, it’s the latter. Oh, I think I forgot to mention that Jessica Biel is the soon-to-be Mrs Timberlake. She should love the Forum. In L.A. she’s just another pretty face but in Memphis…