Mayor Wharton speaks about what Grizzlies sale means for city of - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Mayor Wharton speaks about what Grizzlies sale means for city of Memphis

MEMPHIS, TN - (WMC-TV) – GRIZZ nation is celebrating! The NBA Finance Committee approved the sale of the Memphis Grizzlies to Robert Pera. 

As the Grizzlies were wrapping up their pre-season contest against the Orlando Magic, fans were buzzing about high-hopes for the upcoming season. 

But for the Memphis mayor, Wednesday's approval means more to the city than just wins and losses on the court. 

"It's just one more step to making Memphis a world class city," Mayor A C Wharton said. 

Names like Justin Timberlake, Penny Hardaway, Elliot Perry and Peyton Manning are the big names joining Robert Pera's group. But Mayor Wharton says more local owners are part of the agreement. 

"Businesses who may be thinking about locating in and around the forum say, ‘wait a minute we've got local ownership, they're going to be here. I'm going to open up a restaurant. I'm going to open up a hotel,'" Mayor Wharton said. 

As the Grizzlies gear up for a run at a third consecutive playoff appearance, Wharton says the team does much more off the court. From the Grizzlies House to the Grizzlies Academy and Streets Ministries, the mayor says players serve as role models for youth to stay on the court and stay out of trouble. 

"The young boys that want to become pro basketball players will know that it transcends what you do on the court out there, get to see them in the community," he said. 

Nothing is official until the NBA's Board of Governors gives their approval, possibly as soon as Thursday. Pera must also close the deal with previous owner Michael Heisley. But Wednesday's nod from the NBA's Finance Committee is one step closer to sealing what Wharton considers a slam dunk for Memphis. 

"There is one other thing I'd like to say. Go Grizzlies!" said Wharton. 

Action News 5 will let you know as soon as a deal is closed. 

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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