Sterling: I wish I had just paid her off

— -- Donald Sterling, the disgraced owner of the Los Angeles Clippers who has been banned for life by the NBA for racial remarks, spoke Friday for the first time since the scandal broke.

"I wish I had just paid her off," Sterling told, referring to ex-girlfriend V. Stiviano, the woman behind the audio tape published by TMZ on which Sterling made disparaging racial remarks.

Stiviano was the woman Sterling was talking to on the recording.

According to the person who conducted the interview, Sterling "expressed remorse."

Sterling had kept a low profile since NBA commissioner Adam Silver banned him for life and fined him $2.5 million on Tuesday. Silver has urged the league's owners to force a sale of the Clippers.

Sources have confirmed to that Sterling also is battling cancer.

The news was first reported late Thursday night by the New York Post. The Post, citing sources, reported that the 80-year-old Sterling has been battling prostate cancer for an extended period of time.

Since Sterling's ban was announced, there have been no shortage of suitors who have expressed an interest in potentially purchasing the Clippers.

Oprah Winfrey, David Geffen and Larry Ellison will join together in a bid to buy the Clippers if the NBA's board of governors votes to force Sterling to sell the team, Geffen told ESPN's Jeremy Schaap on Wednesday.

Geffen said he and Ellison would run the team, while Winfrey would be an investor.

Boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr. and music mogul Sean Combs both claimed interest in buying the team Tuesday, as did real-estate tycoon Rick Caruso.

Magic Johnson, Mark Walter and their Guggenheim Partners group, which made the billion-dollar purchase of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012, also are possible bidders, though sources have told ESPN that any such discussions were premature at best.

Johnson, who was specifically mentioned in the recorded conversation involving Sterling, laughed off the suggestion he should buy the Clippers in an appearance on ESPN on Sunday night, saying he was focused on bringing the NFL back to Los Angeles.

Information from ESPN's Jeremy Schaap,'s Dan Rafael and The Associated Press was used in this report.