By CLAY BAILEY
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Memphis Grizzlies controlling owner Robert Pera is starting his second season in charge of an NBA team, and he's already calling out Michael Jordan.
Pera, who had a 1-on-1 preseason challenge against Grizzlies guard Tony Allen canceled several weeks ago, is seeking a game against Jordan with $1 million going to charity.
The challenge came in a Twitter exchange Monday where Pera apologized about the cancellation of the Tony Allen showdown, which would have resulted in a $100,000 donation to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Someone suggested the Grizzlies owner just change it to an owners match with Pera facing off against Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks. Pera's response was he would make quick work of Cuban, so instead he called out the third-leading scorer in NBA history.
"If we are talking an owner game, get me MJ!" Pera tweeted in response to the suggestion of Cuban. "I'll up the charity contribution to $1mm."
Jordan owns the Charlotte Bobcats.
Pera, whose Twitter avatar shows him in mid-jump shot with a shooting sleeve on his left arm, has posted a video of him working out on the Grizzlies' practice court, connecting on mid-range jumpers.
After Tuesday night's 102-99 preseason win over the Milwaukee Bucks, several Grizzlies players were a bit diplomatic, but seemed sure their owner could not compete with Jordan. Center Marc Gasol said it's an indication Pera is competitive, just like Gasol would like to play a soccer match with Lionel Messi or other members of the Barcelona team.
"I don't think so," Gasol said when asked if Pera could beat Jordan. "I don't think he has a chance, but he's a competitor, that's for sure. "
Guard Mike Conley also had his doubts that the Grizzlies owner could stay with Jordan.
"I love Pera, but I don't think he could beat Mike," Conley said.
As for Allen, who was the original opponent in the Pera challenges, he was non-committal about Pera vs. Jordan. However, he was much more confident about the outcome if his game against the owner had been played.
"No, he can't beat me. That's for sure," the animated Allen proclaimed of his owner.
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