Even before Adam Silver imposed a lifetime ban on Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling on Tuesday and vowed to force him to sell the team following his racist rant, the rumor mill was already churning with names of people rich in both money and star power who could buy the team.
If Silver succeeds in forcing a sale—he needs 22 of 30 owners to support the move—it's going to be an expensive purchase. The Clippers are worth about $575 million, according Forbes. Sterling only paid $12 million in 1981.
Here are some of the possible bidders, rumored or confirmed.
Yahoo Sports was the first to report that Johnson, the legendary NBA point guard, might bid for the team along with Mark Walter and their Guggenheim Partners group. Before Silver handed down the ban, Johnson said he wasn't trying to buy the team, but he hasn't commented publicly since.
Oprah, media mogul David Geffen and Larry Ellison, the billionaire chief executive of Oracle, are eyeing a possible joint bid for the team, Geffen told ESPN and Forbes. Geffen, who tried to purchase the team in 2010.
"Oprah is not interested in running the team," Geffen told ESPN. "She thinks it would be a great thing for an important black American to own [another] franchise."
Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The boxer, who is a regular at Clippers games, said just hours after Silver banned Sterling that he would be interested in teaming up with his business partners to purchase the Clippers. "When I'm not boxing, I'm at the games all the time," he told ESPN. "We do want to buy the Clippers. Me and my team do want to buy the Clippers and we can afford the Clippers."
Oscar De La Hoya
The boxing star also said he'd like to own a piece of the team. "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, and nothing would make me happier than to bring an NBA championship home to Southern California sports fans."
The music star formerly known alternatively as P. Diddy or Puff Daddy tweeted that he'd be interested in owning the team.
The rapper similarly took to social media to throw his hat into the ring.
The real estate developer told the Los Angeles Times that he may join a group interested in buying the franchise.
A new Crowdtilt campaign started by two Clippers superfans is pushing Donald Sterling to sell the Clippers back to the people. Their plan, if they get enough donations (they're aiming for $600,000,000), is to buy the Clippers, turn the team into a nonprofit and give the profits back to the community.