The L.A. clippers haven’t even been put up for sale yet and already interest is rolling in.
In the hours after Donald Sterling’s swift fall from grace and subsequent lifetime ban from all NBA games, a flurry of America’s wealthiest basketball fans declared their interests in acquiring the team.
Shortly before NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced the ban and $2.5 million fine Tuesday, Sterling told a Fox News reporter that he definitely wouldn't sell. But the self-made real estate mogul soon learned that he might have no choice if three-fourths of the NBA Board of Governors votes in favor of the move.
Sterling bought the Clippers back in 1981 for $12.7 million, but the team's worth has since swollen to an estimated $700 million, making it the NBA’s 13th most valuable franchise.
It's no wonder that potential buyers are flocking to the bidding table, but do they have the means? Click through the list of contenders who could replace Sterling as the Clippers' new owner, assuming he’s forced to sell.
Music and entertainment mogul David Geffen is one of two billionaires among the group who has the means to purchase the Clippers outright.
But Geffen, 71, told ESPN today that he would team up with Larry Ellison, 69, who runs software tech company Oracle Corp., and media mogul Oprah Winfrey, 60, in any potential bids.
"Oprah is not interested in running the team," Geffen said. "She thinks it would be a great thing for an important black American to own [another] franchise ... The team deserves a better group of owners, who want to win. Larry would sooner die than fail. I would sooner die than fail. Larry's a sportsman, we've talked about this for a long time. Between the three of us, we have a good shot."
Geffen reportedly tried to buy the Clippers for $600 million back in 2010, but Sterling was unwilling to let go of the reins. Things have changed a bit since then.
Geffen’s estimated net worth: $6.1 billion
Ellison's estimated net worth: $48 billion
Winfrey's estimated net worth: $2.9 billion
|Floyd Mayweather Jr.|
Could the world’s highest paid athlete be the next owner of the Clippers? Champion boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. insists that he’s serious about his interest in the team, and has even talked to his adviser, Al Haymon, about the feasibility of making a bid, along with Mayweather Promotions chief executive Leonard Ellerbe, Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer and maybe others.
"I called Al today about that to see if me, Leonard and Al, and hopefully Richard and a couple of other guys, a couple other of my billionaire guys, we can come together and see what we can come up with," Mayweather, 37, told reporters at the MGM Grand Tuesday. "Hopefully, we can do it, and it's not just talk.
Mayweather’s estimated net worth: $170 million
Actor Frankie Muniz played the geeky star of the hit TV series “Malcom in the Middle,” but the 28-year-old is all grown up and now plays with race cars, golfs a lot and could possibly add sports team owner to this list if his declared intention to buy the Clippers comes to pass. But looks like he’ll have to rally a few of his Hollywood buddies to come to the bidding table with him.
"I always stated as a young teen in interviews my dream was to one day own the L.A. Clippers!" Muniz, 28, wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
Muniz’s estimated net worth: $40 million
|Oscar De La Hoya|
Retired boxing ‘Golden Boy’ Oscar De La Hoya, who started an eponymous promotions company bearing his famed nickname, is another champion athlete who has expressed interest in purchasing the Clippers with a group of investors. De La Hoya, a six-division titleholder, already owns a portion of the Houston Dynamo of Major League Soccer along with business partner Phil Anschutz.
"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, 41, said Tuesday. "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.
De La Hoya’s estimated net worth: $200 million
Basketball legend and entrepreneur Earvin “Magic” Johnson inadvertently found himself at the center of the Sterling controversy when the recorded argument between Sterling and his girlfriend showed that it started after she posted a photo with Johnson on Instagram.
Now, Johnson’s name is among a group of rumored potential buyers, according to league sources who told Yahoo Sports that Johnson would enlist the help of billionaire backers, the Guggenheim Partners, to make a bid.
Johnson, 54, and Mark Walter of the Guggenheim Partners already own the Los Angeles Dodgers, while the former basketballer also once owned roughly 4.5 percent of the Lakers, which he sold in 2010 for an undisclosed sum.
Johnson’s estimated net worth: $500 million
|Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs|
Rapper and record producer Sean Combs (aka P. Diddy) wants Sterling to name his price, according to a tweet that the 44-year-old sent out Tuesday in which he states he will “always be a Knicks fan, but I’m also a business man.”
Combs’ estimated net worth: $700 million
Billionaire real-estate developer Rick Caruso formerly lost a bid for the Dodgers in 2012, but his dreams of owning an NBA team might still be alive, if the Clippers become available.
Caruso told the L.A. Times that he’s keen on leading or joining a group that would take over the team. "Whether it's me or somebody else, clearly there needs to be new ownership," Caruso said.
Caruso’s estimated net worth: $1.7 billion