Boxers Floyd Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya, TV chat show host Oprah Winfrey, music mogul David Geffen and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison are some of the names considering a buyout of the Los Angeles Clippers in the wake of owner Donald Sterling’s life ban.
After NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s resounding decision to suspend Sterling for life, it appears more and more likely the franchise will be up for sale.
In order to force out Sterling, the owners need to reach a 75 per cent vote, or 22 of the 29 teams agreeing for the franchise to be sold.
There is no timetable yet for the vote but with all of the teams releasing statements supporting Silver’s announcement, the outcome of the Clippers changing hands appears imminent.
Shortly after Silver’s press conference on Tuesday, a number of potential buyers came out and expressed interest in buying the Los Angeles franchise.
Magic Johnson, who was mentioned by Sterling in the infamous recording, could make a play for the team with Mark Walter and their Guggenheim Partners group, which purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012.
According to ESPN, Winfrey could have interest in partnership with Geffen and Ellison, the latter two having reportedly tried to buy sports franchises before.
Mayweather and fighter-turned-promoter De La Hoya have also thrown their hats in the ring.
“Donald Sterling, he’s been getting a lot of negative press, and my thing is this – I don’t have nothing negative to say about this guy,” said Mayweather.
“He’s always treated me with the utmost respect. He has always invited me to games. Always. Has always told me, ‘Floyd, I want you to sit right next to me and my wife’.
“With me, I can’t come in talking about Mayweather only gonna get three per cent, four per cent. I got to get a solid percentage. Do we want to buy the Clippers? Yes, we do. We are very, very interested in buying the Clippers. We’ll keep the Clippers right where they’re at.
“When I’m not boxing, I’m at the games all the time. We do want to buy the Clippers. Me and my team do want to buy the Clippers and we can afford the Clippers.”
While Mayweather, the world’s highest-paid athlete, certainly has the bankroll to go in on the Los Angeles franchise, there are questions whether he would be a fit. The NBA is certainly trying to increase its diversity and adding another black owner to replace Sterling would be a step in the right direction.
Mayweather, however, is a notorious high-stakes sports gambler and though he said he would stop if he became an owner, it’s still a risk the league would have to take on, along with his legal troubles.
The fighter was sentenced to 90 days in jail after pleading guilty to domestic violence and harassment toward the mother of his children in 2012.
More notably, Mayweather has a history with racist remarks himself, including a 2010 video where he went on a profanity-laced tirade against Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao.
Golden Boy Promotions president De La Hoya would also bring much-needed diversity to the league’s ownership group.
“The league has made it known that it wants more minorities involved and, as a proud Mexican-American, I will bring a different perspective to the NBA in general, and the Clippers in particular,” said De La Hoya.
“I was born and raised in Los Angeles, I know what it takes to run a successful sports entity, and nothing would make me happier than to bring an NBA championship home to Southern California sports fans.”
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