Remember when Justin Timberlake was a musician? Neither do I. But according to this report, he’ll soon be adding “Memphis Grizzlies co-owner” to his list of roles which currently include actor, SNL quasi-regular, and Jessica Biel arm candy. That’s great. So instead of recording a followup already to 2006’s Futuresex/Love Sounds we’ll have to settle for seeing his mug at Grizzlies games.
(Hey, it’s a good pop album.)
Timberlake isn’t the first celebrity investor to pour truckloads of cash into a sports franchise, however ill-advised it can be. Here’s five more that come to mind:
1) Jon Bon Jovi
New Jersey’s second favourite son (the favourite being Bruce Springsteen and THERE WILL BE NO DEBATE ON THIS) was one of the founding owners of an Arena Football Team, the Philadelphia Soul, along with bandmate Richie Sambora and Ron Jaworski. He had the pleasure of hoisting the ArenaBowl Championship cup in 2008. Although he’s no longer an owner, it’s kind of cool that he took a risk and threw his support towards a fledgling pro sports league.
2) Bret “the Hitman” Hart
He’s a legend in pro wrestling circles, but Mr. Excellence of Execution is also the founding member and inspiration behind the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League. They no longer rock Bret’s trademark pink in their logo, but the team was a stepping stone for more than 30 eventual NHLers, including Ryan Getzlaf and Andrew Ladd (a 4th overall pick in 2004).
3) John Candy
Keeping it Canadian, SCTV alum and comic legend John Candy was part-owner of the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts from 1991 to 1993, along national treasure Wayne Gretzky and Gretzky-thief Bruce McNall, who also orchestrated the theft of Heisman Trophy winner “Rocket” Ismail when he lured him to the Argos from the NFL for an unheard-of-at-the-time-and-by-CFL-standards $18 million (although considering he only lasted two seasons in Toronto, the Rocket was the real thief here.) Candy got to hoist the Grey Cup in 1991, just a few years before his untimely death in 1994. Considering the way championship cups get handled these days, we are all relieved the Grey Cup never suffered a fate similar to that of the car Candy drove with Steve Martin in Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
Thanks to Jay-Z, he who made a Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can (PFFFFBBBBTTTT!!!), the NBA Nets have a new lease on life and a new home in Brooklyn. Jay-Z is far from a silent owner: his fingerprints are all over this franchise, and despite owning a small percentage of the team is set to make millions. That’s good, because we were so concerned about Blue Ivy’s future, y’a know. *sigh*
OK, so this doesn’t exactly count but how awesome would it be if you were a boy, say, nine years old, and your soccer team was being sponsored by effing Motorhead?!! That’s exactly what happened to these kids in the U.K. a few years ago. Their jerseys featured the band’s mascot Snaggletooth and they even ran out to “Ace of Spades” at games. Lemmy wasn’t exactly investing Jay-Z-level cash, but the move made him even cooler in this former soccer mom’s books.