Grizzlies' Robert Pera: 'Goal of this team is to improve the community'

Grizzlies owner Robert Pera: Team really belongs to Memphis

(WMC-TV) – New Grizzlies owner Robert Pera introduced himself and his team's new CEO, Jason Levien, to the city of Memphis Monday morning.

"Thank you everyone for the warm welcome," said Robert Pera. "First of all, I wanted to say, I'm an NBA super fan, I believe it's the greatest sport in the world."

Pera and Levien held a news conference at 10 a.m. to share their plans for the team moving forward.

Robert Pera is the founder and CEO of Ubiquiti Networks, Inc. He said the purpose of his company is to connect millions of people in the most remote and underserved areas of the world in order to enrich their lives. Specifically, he said what he does in his business by "creating value and changing the world," is similar to what he hopes to do with the Memphis Grizzlies.

"When I look at Memphis as a community, and I see how important the team is to the community, I kind of have the same type of feeling I have with my company," said Pera. "By that I mean, I know I'm sitting here and I'm the controlling owner, but I fully understand the community, Memphis really owns the team. "

He continued, "What we are going to try to do, is guide the team to have the biggest impact and really improve the community of Memphis."

Before introducing Jason Levien as the new Grizzlies CEO, Pera revealed what he hopes to accomplish as controlling owner of the Grizzlies.

"The goals of the team is, of course, to be highly competitive, build a great brand, a great product, and of course, we really want to see what we can do with the community and improve the community," he said.

Levien will run the day-to-day operations of the NBA team, and make decisions with Pera and the rest of the new Grizzlies ownership group.

"Robert and I have a real commitment to Memphis, a real commitment to making this team work in Memphis, and being an intricate part of the fabric in the community," said Levien.

The new CEO named several of the local members of the community who will serve as the ownership group of the team.

A few of the people he named were Penny Hardaway, Pitt Hyde, Ashley Manning, Bill Rhodes, Billy Orgel, and Justin Timberlake. For a full list of owners, click here.

"There was never any resistance on his (Pera's) part to not only keeping the team in Memphis but he wants to figure out ways as he shared so eloquently today how to leverage the brand more to make a bigger difference in the city," said Harold Ford Junior, Grizzlies limited partner.

"Ultimately it's that you want this team here. We realize how important the Memphis Grizzlies are to the Memphis area," agreed Elliot Perry, limited partner. "We feel like we can build a championship team here. It is possible. You saw Oklahoma City playing the Miami Heat in the finals last year. We feel like we can do that."

"I think we've got an all-star lineup of owners, I mean, how lucky are we that we have that support in the community and we have these business leaders who are behind us? I think we can be wildly successful because of them," said Levien. "Robert and I have talked about our focus really being on creating a culture within the organization that is best in class, where there is a real commitment to excellence, there's a commitment to process and making decisions which are thoughtful, getting the sharpest people around the table to make those decisions.

He went on, "And really a sense of community, unselfishness and kindness in what we do, and understanding that this is all about entertainment, it's about the community, but obviously, one of the biggest things is we want to win. We want to consistently win, and I have to applaud our organization because we're inheriting a terrific team."

The CEO says he will begin assessing the staff already in place, but made no guarantees.

"I'd love to be here in Memphis. Hopefully I'm here in Memphis, but I'm not the one who makes the final determination on that," said Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace. "This is the fourth management change I've been through in my MBA career. I take the philosophy of my former boss Pat Riley. Pat Riley said change is inevitable when it rears its head embrace it and run with it."

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