"I don't know who Robert Pera is either, Marc."
With this afternoon's report that 34-year-old billionaire Robert Pera agreed to buy the Memphis Grizzlies, of course it got me thinking: who the hell is this guy?
Well, aside from the fact that he's young and a tech billionaire, I know nothing else about this guy. Nothing. But from what I'm starting to read, it appears as if he's the anti-Mark Cuban. And I'm not quite sure if that's a good thing.
In this feature article on Pera in Forbes, the first paragraph leads you to wonder:
Robert J. Pera lives lean. The Apple engineer turned entrepreneur never checks a bag at the airport, leases a BMW and keeps a sparsely furnished one-bedroom apartment in San Jose, Calif. Pera takes a similar stripped-down approach toward running Ubiquiti Networks, the maker of wireless-networking gear he founded in 2005 and that went public in October. "My aim is to build something great as efficiently as possible," he says.
I'm not one to endorse a lavish lifestyle -- he's free to do whatever he wants with his money, even if that means nothing -- but it does concern me to see that his management style is based in "efficiency." Um, this is the NBA. We can't all be Oklahoma City. Think about it; the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs (3 of the 4 last remaining teams in the NBA Playoffs) were 1, 5 and 8 in salary this season, according to HoopsHype. Effective, yes. Efficient, no.
Look, I don't want to make assumptions about him, considering that as of 20 minutes ago I had no idea who this guy was. But, let's hope, at the very least, he agrees to keep the team in Memphis. That would be top priority. After that, we can complain about his management style when he starts carrying the Donald Sterling handbook around with him.
For now, though, he seems... rich. And young. That's... cool, I guess.