It's a rare event when a major sports franchise goes on sale in one of America's biggest and richest cities. So now that the NBA will force (or attempt to force) Donald Sterling to sell the Los Angeles Clippers, it seems everyone with a checking account and a Twitter handle is saying they want a piece of the action. Good luck with that.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced Tuesday that the league's board of governor's will vote to remove Donald Sterling as owner of the team as outlined by the NBA constitution. Most of the league has come forward to publicly support Silver now, indicating he should have no problem getting three-fourths majority vote (or 22 team owners) need to banish Sterling.
At that point, Sterling will be forced to sell (despite Sterling telling Jim Gray the team is "not for sale"), likely before the start of next season. The current estimate is that he will get well over $1 billion. Sterling will make a small fortune on the sale, yes, but that doesn't mean it's a victory for him, as Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski sums up.
The richest slumlord in American sports ownership will make a killing on the sale, but Sterling has lost his courtside seats, his trumped-up charitable photo-ops and celebrity status in Hollywood. He's lost his make-believe importance in the make-believe city.
On to the next one, as they say. Someone new will have a chance to sit courtside at Clippers games in Los Angeles and pal around with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and the Hollywood starlets who want to see and be seen on TV. Which is really what owning a sports team is all about, right? That's probably why the people below have all thrown their hats in the to the ring — some more seriously than others. Here's a list of all the people (we know of) who have expressed an interest in NBA ownership.
The actor apparently wants a little piece of the pie. "I unfortunately don't have Donald Sterling money," he told CNBC on Tuesday. "But if Magic wants to put people together, I'll jump in as a super tiny minority investor."
The Malcolm In the Middle-star really, really loves the Clippers, you guys. He is one of the team's longest "celebrity" fans. He wrote a five paragraph Facebook essay about how disappointed he is in Donald Sterling. Frankie Muniz is your worst Facebook friend, the one you always want to delete but never can.
I am buying the Los Angeles Clippers.— Frankie Muniz (@frankiemuniz) April 29, 2014
The Compton rapper wants to change the team name, though:
Speaking of Compton rappers, Dr. Dre is reportedly "absolutely" interested in buying the Clippers. Always thought he was more of a football guy, but since the Raiders left town a long time ago, sure, why not?
Ross expressed his interest in becoming the new boss. As the owner of 25 Wing Stops across the USA, Ross can safely call himself a fast food kingpin. Unfortunately owning Wing Stops doesn't make you a billionaire.
Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs
Probably the only rapper with a net worth that even approaches "NBA owner" level, (he has several other jobs, too) the New York native channeled a certain former Brooklyn Nets-part-owner when announcing his interest:
Floyd Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya
We know Floyd Mayweather has money. I mean, he calls himself "Money" Mayweather and has a "money team," for Pete's sake. But does he have "own a sports franchise" money? Hmmm. Not on his own, but maybe if teams up with former foe Oscar De La Hoya (who built up a small fight promotion empire since retiring from the boxing ring), plus Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe; Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer; and a few other "billionaire friends," as Mayweather told press outside the MGM Grand Tuesday. (After stepping out of a Rolls Royce to promote his May 5 fight against Robert Guerrero, of course.) The group could possibly seriously contend for the Clips, and we know that "Money" likes basketball. Or at least ... he likes gambling on it, which would be a big no-no if became an owner.
Oprah Winfrey, David Geffen, and Larry Ellison
Honestly, Oprah buying the Clippers was a joke at first — seriously, ask Dan Rubenstein at SB Nation — but the television mogul is allegedly "mulling a bid" with support from fellow billionaire luminaries David Geffen and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, according to ESPN. Each one of them could probably buy a couple NBA teams on their own, but Ellison, who is diabolical in his own special and unique ways, has been trying for years to get into the sports franchise business without success.
The most talked about (and likely) outcome out of any of these scenarios is the NBA would sell the Clippers to Magic Johnson and the Guggenheim Partners, one of the first groups reportedly interested in taking the team off Donald Sterling's hands, as reported by Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski. The group has experience buying damaged sports teams: In 2012, they bought the L.A. Dodgers from Major League Baseball after that team was seized because of the previous owner's financial mismanagement. The details are different this time, sure, but the NBA would surely love to have one of their greatest global ambassadors as an owner, just as much as Magic wants to own a team. He's a recognizable legend and intimately connected to both the league and the city. It's the best possible bow to wrap up this nightmare.
Plus, the city of Los Angeles probably wants Magic and the Guggenheim Partners to scoop up the Clippers too, because that will position them as a worthy rival to AEG (owners of the Los Angeles Kings, the Staples Center, and part of the Lakers) as the region's dominant sports empire. Both sides will compete for a crown jewel: an NFL franchise and stadium in downtown Los Angeles.
Update, 5:56 p.m. We had some late additions to our list.
Because losing millions of dollars is her favorite pastime, the former New Yorker and Newsweek editor threw her name in the hat too.
Please, masters of the universe, use your power for good and make this happen.
I WANT IN!! I WANT TO BUY THE CLIPPERS!!— Tracy Morgan (@RealTracyMorgan) April 30, 2014
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