NBA Blocks ‘Express’ as Name

Associated Press

FedEx Corp. reduced its multimillion-dollar role in efforts to attract the NBA to Memphis when the league rejected “Express” as a team name.

FedEx withdrew its offer to buy team naming rights “unless the NBA would like to reopen the discussion,” company spokeswoman Shirley Clark said Tuesday.

FedEx continued seeking rights to name a new arena if the NBA grants permission for the Vancouver Grizzlies to relocate to Memphis.

The Memphis-based company had discussed the possibility of Memphis Express as a team name in its $100-million offer.

J.R. “Pitt” Hyde, leader of the local NBA “pursuit team,” said the FedEx decision on a team name will not hinder overall efforts to attract the Grizzlies.


For most of its corporate life, FedEx was called Federal Express.

“As a matter of long-standing policy we don’t permit teams to be named after commercial entities. That’s not territory we’re prepared to enter,” said Mike Bass, an NBA spokesman.