Celebrities enter the arena

Famous bidders already lining up for LA Clippers.
Associated Press
May 1, 2014

If Donald Sterling is compelled to sell the Los Angeles Clippers, the list of potential buyers has more stars than their roster.

Oprah Winfrey is contemplating a bid. Sean Combs is a Knicks fan, but he wants in.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. wants the whole team. Matt Damon wants a tiny piece.

Billionaires, entertainers and athletes alike announced their intentions to pursue the Clippers with varying degrees of seriousness Wednesday, proving the longtime losers will be quite a prize if the NBA is able to wrest control of the team away from Sterling after his lifetime ban for racist remarks.

Winfrey led the list, and the media mogul is already bringing in her friends.

"Oprah Winfrey is in discussions with David Geffen and Larry Ellison to make a bid for the Los Angeles Clippers should the team become available," spokesperson Nicole Nichols confirmed in an email.

If Winfrey joins Geffen, the billionaire entertainment executive, and Oracle CEO Ellison to pool their vast resources for a bid, they could be among the top contenders for a franchise that would be among the most valuable sports properties to hit the market since the Los Angeles Dodgers' $2 billion sale in 2012 to the Guggenheim Partners group fronted by Magic Johnson, the Lakers great and another potential Clippers bidder.

The Clippers spent the last three decades rotting in the shadow of the glamorous Lakers, who piled up championships while the lowly Clips only racked up losses. With Sterling's ouster, the Clippers suddenly became the most attractive team in town to wealthy fans lining up for an unlikely chance to seize control of a Hollywood sports franchise on the move.

David Carter, the executive director of USC's Sports Business Institute, identifies multiple factors contributing to the Clippers' extraordinary value.

"Interest in the team results from the combination of NBA teams being rare assets that are seldom available for purchase, the location of this particular team, and potential owners' belief that revenue streams linked to rehabbing the brand and participating in future revenue linked to a new TV deal all make the team very attractive to prospective buyers," Carter said.

For a day, almost everybody seemed interested in being those buyers — and even entertainers without those limitless resources were clamoring for the chance.

Combs, Rick Ross and Snoop Dogg all aired their interest, as did longtime Clippers fan Frankie Muniz and Damon, who told CNBC he'd like to be a "super tiny minority investor." Fans also got in on the frenzy, opening campaigns on Kickstarter and Crowdtilt to pool their resources for the club.

Mayweather spoke seriously about his interest while preparing for his fight with Marcos Maidana this Saturday, although Money May would have to curb his enthusiastic sports gambling habit. Oscar De La Hoya, the majority shareholder in Golden Boy Promotions whose statue sits outside Staples Center, volunteered himself as a part-owner.

"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," De La Hoya said. "I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I know what it takes to run a successful sports entity."

A vocal segment of the NBA's social media following immediately started a campaign to move the Clippers to Seattle, a basketball-loving city that has been without a team since Clay Bennett moved the SuperSonics to Oklahoma City in 2008.

But much of the Clippers' value results from their location in the nation's second-largest city and their opportunity to sign a lucrative new television rights deal in 2016.

The Clippers' association with Sterling's racist remarks could have been crushing to their prestige and value, but they don't seem to be a problem if Sterling is no longer associated with the club.

"The short term damage has been dramatic, but Commissioner (Adam) Silver provided a tourniquet that has stopped the brand erosion," Carter said. "The NBA, working in conjunction with new ownership, will have an extraordinary opportunity to rehabilitate the team's reputation, and then extend its brand."

The Clippers haven't been known for success during most of their existence, but that's changing. And what's more, the Clippers are cool.

Led by point guard Chris Paul and high-flying forward Blake Griffin — two All-Stars signed to long-term contracts — the Clippers have won two straight Pacific Division titles and are on the brink of their third playoff series victory since Sterling bought the team in 1981.

The Clippers have captured the imagination of Los Angeles' counterculture, the transplants and contrarian fans who aren't interested in the Lakers' bandwagon. They're also attracting more of an international following with each highlight-reel performance by Paul and dunking virtuosos DeAndre Jordan and Griffin, who coined the phrase "Lob City" to describe their daredevil style of play.

And it doesn't hurt that the Lakers just finished their worst season in more than 50 years, missing the playoffs for just the third time in 38 seasons. The Lakers appear to be years away from title contention, while the Clippers are built to contend every year in the near future.

"We're proud of this team," Clippers guard Jamal Crawford said. "We're proud of our city, and we want to make them proud of us."

 

Comments

Darwin's choice

Sorry, wannabees, sterling isn't going anywhere. If the NBA tries to make that happen, they will have to take action against just about all the owners/players. As sad as sterling is, and he is a racist, he seems to have been set up, and even if not, opening this can of worms will surely be the demise of many.....of all races!

The Big Dog's back

A rich egotistical old white man racist? No way.

Darwin's choice

And, the best part, dog, he's a democrat!!!!!!!

The Big Dog's back

Hardly durwood.

Bottom Line

No he IS a democrat. That's a fact. Not up for debate. God you're a piece of work.

The Good Doctor

Check YOUR facts. Sterling is a registered Republican.

Bottom Line

If someone supports, votes for and contributes money to all democrats over many decades they are a democrat. If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, it's a duck.

Conservatives do not get awards from the NAACP. If he had even an inkling of any sort of conservative politics or republican activity that wouldn't happen.

santown419

U guess since he did get an award from the naacp you are not telling the truth and it proves conservatives do.

JMOP

But his monetary contributions are to only democrats. I think the bigot filled out his paperwork wrong. ( I don't have his home address to confirm it to myself if he is a registered republican)

Pterocarya frax...

Read this Bottom Line. Then you ca come back and apologize to Brutus.

http://www.latimes.com/business/...

Bottom Line

No need for me to apologize. Read what I said. It's all correct. Spot on.

Back to the playground, dear.

Pterocarya frax...

If you bothered to read the link I posted you would see that every single thing you wrote on this topic was wrong. That is a fact, and not up for debate.

Nemesis

The article cites one thing - his voter registration, which is meaningless. You embarrass yourself by admitting you're naive enough to think it has any probative value.

The party affiliation on my voter registration changes almost every two years based on which party has the more interesting primary race. I would expect MOST Democrats with any understanding of political strategy to be currently registered as Republicans because in the last presidential primary they had an incumbent running unopposed and there was the opportunity to sabotage the other side's nomination process. Similarly, between 2004 and 2007, I'd expect to find most Republicans registered to vote as Democrats.

Pterocarya frax...

Well actually the article I quoted shows that he gave $11,000 to three democrats over 3 decades. For a billionaire, that does not exactly prove he is a democrat as many are claiming.

Based upon a lack of donations to democrats and voter registration that has not changed for at least 16 years (in spite of your claim that is should change frequently), I have not embarrassed myself at all in pointing out that Bottom Line was way off base.

Your attitude on voter registration changes is interesting though. I have discussed this issue with hundreds of liberals and have only heard one admit that she switched her affiliation regularly based on the criteria you suggest.

Many liberals will admit to changing their party affiliation once. Many, like me, changed it after they saw the devastating effects of electing Reagan.

I think this points out a difference between liberals and conservatives. Most liberals I know are just not devious enough to think like you do.

Nemesis

Don't kid yourself. I've met hundreds of liberals who switch on a regular basis. They understand that it's an outrage that someone should have to state any affiliation in order to exercise their right to vote for ANY candidate who's on a ballot printed and used at taxpayer expense.

I notice neither you nor anyone else has been able to offer a counter-example of money he gave to GOP candidates. Money talks.

coasterfan

Correct. The early stories about Sterling being a Democrat were completely debunked. He is definitely a card-carrying Republican, of the old white, racist variety. His kind will not be gone soon enough.

Darwin's choice

Like obama/Bemghazi was debunked, troll?

Nemesis

Ahhh, coasterfan, it's always amusing to see someone dredge up the "no true Scotsman" fallacy.

JMOP

He almost got another NAACP award too. I knew he must of been filthy rich democrat getting the award twice.

Bottom Line

Wait. There's such a thing as a rich democrat? Who knew? Certainly not dog.

Stop It

Basketball. The only pro sport to last all year long, back to back.

2cents

LOL, I have been thinking that about all these sports anymore.

Dr. Information

They can't force him to sell it. Nice move to try and get this team sold to Magic or some other black celeb. Won't happen.

Also nice cherry picking when they NBA wanted to go after a known racist. He's been this way for years. Remember Elgin Baylor anyone? The town and players have supported a known racist for years.

The NBA is a joke anyhow.

coasterfan

Kudos to the new commissioner for doing what should have been done long ago with the likes of Sterling.

Dr. Information

They can't force him to sell. It won't happen.

Lets have no tolerance for all racially said things no matter the color. 90% of the NBA would cease to exist.

The Good Doctor

Your confidence is misplaced. The NBA commissioner is a damn good lawyer who did his homework.

Dr. Information

And, the NBA does not have the right to force someone to sell. The NBA as an entity cannot force an owner to sell over his 1st amendment right.

This is D. Sterling for the last 30 years and they are now trying to act on it. Won't happen.

Nemesis

"Damn good lawyer[s]" don't work as administrators. They can make 10 times more money litigating and have a fire in the belly that can only be stoked by the fog of legal contention.

Babo

It's interesting how a significant part of his comments were suppressed:

http://www.economicpolicyjournal...

Donegan

They cannot sell it to Oprah as she has said Racist things in the past, so did Sean Combs, Rick Ross and Snoop Dogg. That means they are out unless...There is HYPOCRISY at work here.
The racist is going to sue the NBA for billions from some reports so hopefully it bankrupts the entire league and Hockey players might get a little attention. After all Hockey is really the only sport left that is not filled with prima-donna's that whine about every single thing on and off the field.

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