TIME NBA

These Are The People Who Might Buy the Clippers

Oprah Clippers
Oprah attends the Los Angeles premiere of HBO Documentary Films "Paycheck To Paycheck" at the Linwood Dunn Theater at the Pickford Center for Motion Study on March 10, 2014 in Hollywood, California. Paul Redmond—WireImage/Getty Images

A long list of big names, including Oscar De La Hoya, Oprah and Magic Johnson, want a stake in the NBA franchise, after NBA commissioner Adam Silver vowed to force owner Donald Sterling to sell in the wake of Sterling's racist rant

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.

Magic Johnson

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 Winfrey

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.”

Sean Combs

The music star formerly known alternatively as P. Diddy or Puff Daddy tweeted that he’d be interested in owning the team.

Rick Ross

The rapper similarly took to social media to throw his hat into the ring.

Rich Caruso

The real estate developer told the Los Angeles Times that he may join a group interested in buying the franchise.

Everyone

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.

 

TIME Football

Heisman Trophy Winner Jameis Winston Cited for Shoplifting

Jameis Winston Heisman Shoplifting
Jameis Winston, quarterback of the Florida State Seminoles, speaks to the media during a press conference after the 2013 Heisman Trophy Presentation at the Marriott Marquis on Dec. 14, 2013 in New York City. Jeff Zelevansky—Getty Images

The Florida State University quarterback allegedly stole $32.72 worth of seafood from a local Publix

Jameis Winston, the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback at Florida State University, was suspended from the school’s baseball team Wednesday after being issued a citation for shoplifting seafood.

Winston, who plays both football and baseball for FSU, was not arrested for the incident, but was instead issued an adult civil citation. USA Today reports the citation requires 20 hours of community service.

“As a result of his citation last night, we are suspending Jameis Winston from the baseball team,” said FSU Baseball Coach Mike Martin said in a statement. “I am confident he will complete his community service obligation and the situation will be resolved soon.”

Florida State University’s football coach Jimbo Fisher, said, ““I fully support Coach Martin’s decision and will also make sure that Jameis meets all obligations, which I know he will.” The redshirt sophomore is known chiefly for his prowess on the football field, having led the team to a BCS national championship in 2014, but plays for the school’s baseball team out of season.

On Tuesday, Winston was allegedly caught stealing $32.72 worth of crab legs and crawfish from a Florida Publix grocery store, according to CBS12 News. Winston told local officers that he forgot to pay for the seafood after placing an order at the seafood counter.

The shoplifting incident is only the latest trouble for the student. Winston was accused of raping an FSU freshman in late 2012, though he wasn’t identified as her attacker until January 2013. The Department of Education is investigating the school’s handling of the rape accusations under the Title IX amendment of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX requires schools to respond swiftly to any and all allegations of rape. Prosecutors found there was insufficient evidence to bring charges, and Winston has denied any wrongdoing.

Florida State’s discipline policy allows students with civil citations to practice and compete in athletic events, but the final decision rests with the team’s head coach.

 

TIME

Will Donald Sterling Give Up Clippers Or Fight?

Sterling can fade away or fight back.

Now that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has dropped the hammer on Clippers owner Don Sterling for his racist comments, what happens next? Silver fined Sterling $2.5 million, banned Sterling for life and is putting pressure on him to sell the franchise, but Sterling might not go quietly. The league could force a sale if enough owners vote to do so, but Sterling could put up a fight and a heated legal battle could ensue.

In the The Los Angeles Times, Notre Dame sports economics professor Richard Sheehan said “If he truly doesn’t want to sell, I’m going to guess he could tie this up for the rest of his life. It would be an absolute disaster.”

TIME NBA

Los Angeles Rallies Behind the Clippers After Owner Donald Sterling Is Banned

Fans show their support of the Los Angeles Clippers during Game 5 of the Clippers' opening-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Golden State Warriors on April 29, 2014, in Los Angeles Ringo H.W. Chiu—AP

Fans came out in support of the Los Angeles Clippers and were rewarded with a critical Game 5 playoff win on Tuesday, the same day that owner Donald Sterling was banned from the league for life following the revelation of his racist comments

It was pushing 90°F as afternoon turned to evening in Los Angeles on Tuesday — not exactly ideal weather for wearing all black. But huge swaths of the crowd outside the Staples Center downtown felt that the occasion demanded it, and they showed up dressed darkly from head to toe. Inside the arena, less than twelve hours after Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was banned from the NBA for life, his team triumphed in a critical playoff game against the Golden State Warriors. It was the Clippers’ first home game since recordings of Sterling espousing racist sentiments were released over the weekend.

The Warriors were planning to walk off the court just after tip-off in protest of Sterling, who was recorded telling his then girlfriend he did not want her publicly associating with black people, including basketball legend Magic Johnson. But new NBA commissioner Adam Silver brought the hammer down on Sterling on Tuesday, imposing an unprecedented lifetime ban for an owner and vowing that the league would force him to sell the team. The action was hailed by players and Clippers coach Doc Rivers as the right decision, one that would allow the NBA playoffs to continue as planned. The energized Clippers, who had seemed distracted in a blowout loss to the Warriors on Sunday, topped Golden State 113-103 this time, taking a key 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Fans rallied behind the embattled team. Even as reporters swarmed around the small groups and lone protesters holding signs further condemning Sterling and racism in general, the pregame atmosphere was undoubtedly one of elated support for the Clippers players and relief that they could continue their pursuit of the 2014 NBA championship.

“That was as good as I’ve ever seen,” Rivers said of the fans’ support. “They were unbelievable.”

“I’m emotionally invested in the players,” says season-ticket holder Joe Crue, a 27-year-old graduate student at the University of Southern California. Crue said longtime Clippers fans disliked Sterling, who was one of the least popular owners in the NBA even before the recent recordings were released over the weekend. “For hardcore Clippers fans, this was not new,” Crue says. He was wearing a Clippers jersey inside out “to show solidarity for the team. That’s who we’ve always supported.”

Mark Ebner, a novelist, wore a black armband to the game on Tuesday. “That’s for solidarity with the fans, the players and Doc Rivers,” says Ebner, adding that Sterling’s comments “showed profoundly reprehensible leadership.”

Tanya Shephard, a 37-year-old Angeleno who attended the game on Tuesday with her boyfriend and 11-year-old son — all of them dressed in black — said when her son, who is African American, heard the Sterling tape recording, “He was upset. He wants to be in the league one day and said, ‘Mom, I can’t believe that stuff is still happening.’”

But for longtime Clippers fan Rick Dennis — who said he has had season tickets since 1990 and supported the team as it eventually transformed from league loser to championship contender under Sterling’s ownership — the punishment meted out to the owner seemed overly harsh. “It’s wrong what he said, but just because you’re an idiot doesn’t mean people should be able to take away what you’ve built,” Dennis says. “There should be an avenue for redemption.”

Silver expressed confidence on Tuesday that at least three-quarters of NBA owners would vote to force Sterling to sell the Clippers, which would prompt a sale, although Sterling could fight the action in court. Before Silver announced Sterling was banned from the NBA, including all Clippers games, the 80-year-old owner reportedly said the team was “not for sale.”

Dennis was among those fans who were disappointed that one of Clippers’ most promising season in years was tainted by the Sterling scandal. “I love the team,” Dennis says. “I’m a perennial rooter for the underdog, but this year we were meant to mean something.”

Inside the Staples Center on Tuesday evening, passionate support for the Clippers was palpable. Los Angeles Times sports columnist Bill Plaschke tweeted before the game that he had “never heard such a standing ovation for players shooting layups and stretching.” Jesse Jackson walked around the court before the game, and as the team warmed up before tipoff, the words We Are One — a motto the team adopted earlier on Tuesday — flashed across the scoreboard above. An announcer’s voice blared through the arena, which was sold out. “We stand as fans! We stand to show our team we’re here!”

Condemned or not, Sterling still owned the Clippers on Tuesday. And a championship would only increase the value of his team and the potential windfall if he were to sell it. Sterling purchased the Clippers in 1981 for $12 million and, according to Forbes, the team is now worth $575 million.

“He’s going to win either way,” Brinden McGowan, 27, said outside the Staples Center on Tuesday. “Even if he sells the team, he’s still gonna make a lot. It’s a catch-22.”

TIME NBA

David Geffen Wants to Buy the Clippers, But They Won’t Come Cheap

Donald Sterling bought the team back in 1981 for $12 million. It is now worth an estimated $575 million.

Film and music mogul David Geffen is interested in buying the Los Angeles Clippers if other NBA owners force a sale, he announced Tuesday.

“If the Clippers become available he would be interested in buying the franchise,” Geffen’s office wrote in an email, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Geffen confirmed his interest when he told Forbes that he “would very much like to buy the team.”

Sterling purchased the Clippers for $12 million 1981, though Forbes estimates the team is now worth $575 million.

Geffen reportedly tried to purchase a major stake in the team in 2010, though he was denied by owner Donald Sterling. Geffen declined to comment to Forbes on the situation surrounding the possible sale.

On Monday NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling from the sport for life and fined him $2.5 million dollars for making racist remarks in an audio recording that surfaced Friday. Silver also said he would encourage the other league owners to force Sterling to sell the team.

[Los Angeles Times]

TIME NBA

Sterling Ban Shows Power of NBA Players

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver Press Conference
NBA commissioner Adam Silver addresses the media about the investigation involving Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling in New York City on April 29, 2014 Spencer Platt—Getty Images

The lifetime ban handed down to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling on Tuesday following revelations of his racist comments marks a new chapter in activism for NBA players like LeBron James. Commissioner Adam Silver won praise, but players pushed the ball

Malik Rose was caught off guard. The former NBA forward, who played 13 seasons before his career ended in 2009, expected NBA commissioner Adam Silver to issue an “indefinite suspension” to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for his racist remarks caught on tape. That “indefinite” language would give Sterling some leeway to go on an apology tour, find some sort of public reformation and return to his courtside seat.

Instead, Silver banned Sterling from the NBA “for life” on Tuesday.

The difference is, to some degree at least, a matter of semantics: lifetime bans can be lifted. But it was a strong statement. From the podium at a closely watched news conference in New York City, Silver expressed great confidence in his convictions.

“The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful,” Silver added. “That they came from an NBA owner only heightens the damage and my personal outrage. Sentiments of this kind are contrary to the principles of inclusion and respect that form the basis our diverse, multicultural and multiethnic league.”

Rose, who was respected for both his on-court toughness and off-court intelligence and leadership, was impressed: “I mean, it’s crazy. It’s like Adam Silver is trying to win the MVP race.”

Yes, Silver won the day. But his decision may say as much about the changing nature of the NBA as it does about its new commissioner. In the NBA, the players have wielded tremendous power in recent years. If a star like Dwight Howard wants out of Orlando, or Carmelo Anthony wants out of Denver, they make it happen. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh wanted to play together and build a dynasty in Miami. They made it happen.

In the days after TMZ published audio of Sterling chastising his then girlfriend for bringing black people to Clippers games, the biggest current and former stars in the game — James included — condemned him in no uncertain terms. And Sterling paid the price.

What’s refreshing here is that the players wielded their power on an important social issue. Silver heard the voices of his players, nearly 80% of whom are African American. Sure, James blasting a racist owner doesn’t take the same courage as John Carlos and Tommie Smith raising a fist at the 1968 Olympics or Muhammad Ali losing his heavyweight title over Vietnam. But Rose, a former member of the negotiating committee for the players’ union, doesn’t believe stars would have made the same noise if this incident had happened a decade ago. “Superstars speaking out — more than ever, they understand the full scope of their power,” Rose said. “Strong, united players can affect change. I take great pride seeing that.”

National Basketball Players Association vice president Roger Mason said a group of players told Silver they were ready to boycott the playoffs if the commissioner didn’t take strong action against Sterling.

Now, Silver wants Sterling out of the NBA. He took Sterling’s punishment one step further than many had expected, recommending that the owners force Sterling to sell the team. Silver needs three-fourths of the owners to vote in favor of forcing the sale.

“I’ll let the lawyers lay out for you the provisions of our [league] constitution,” Silver said. “Let’s just leave it that we have the authority to act as I’ve recommended.” Silver is relying on Article 13(d) of the NBA’s constitution and bylaws, which states that ownership can be terminated if an owner “fail(s) or refuse(s) to fulfill its contractual obligations to the Association, its Members, Players, or any third party in such a way as to affect the Association or its Members adversely.”

Sterling’s racism, in Silver’s view, “adversely” affected the NBA brand enough to warrant this unprecedented action.

Silver also expressed confidence that he’d corral the necessary votes to force Sterling to sell. Twenty-nine teams have expressed support for Silver’s decision, ESPN reports. That support may not translate into votes for the sale.

But Silver seems to be gaining momentum. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, for example, had called a forcible sale of Sterling’s team, because of his personal views, a “slippery slope” that sets a dangerous precedent for legislating owner behavior. While Cuban condemned Sterling’s comments, he told the Associated Press that “regardless of your background, regardless of the history they have, if we’re taking something somebody said in their home and we’re trying to turn it into something that leads to you being forced to divest property in any way, shape or form, that’s not the United States of America. I don’t want to be part of that.” After Silver’s press conference, however, Cuban tweeted that “I agree 100% with Commissioner Silvers [sic] findings and the actions taken against Donald Sterling.” (Cuban did not return an email from TIME requesting clarification.)

During his news conference, Silver said Sterling expressed no denial, or remorse, about the comments on the tape. Silver said he had “no idea” if Sterling would fight the punishment.

“Based on his history,” says Cari Grieb, adjunct professor of sports law at the John Marshall Law School, “I expect him to litigate to the bitter end. This can be another A-Rod.”

And even if Silver and the NBA owners get their wish, and Sterling is forced to sell the team, the Clippers owner cashes in. His former longtime employee, NBA great Elgin Baylor, has said Sterling had a “vision of a Southern plantation-type structure” for the Clippers. And that mentality will line his pockets: Sterling bought the team for $12 million in 1981, and the purchase price for the franchise is sure to be north of $600 million.

“Yeah, it’s somewhat bittersweet that he could profit so much through his punishment,” says Rose. “But in all, it’s a happy day for the NBA.”

TIME NBA

Clippers Coach: ‘We Can Move Forward’

The head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers said Adam Silver's decision to ban Donald Sterling for life and fine him $2.5 million was the right move during a press conference on Tuesday night.

Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers commended NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s decision to ban team owner Donald Sterling for life during a press conference Tuesday.

“I thought he made a decision that really was the right one that had to be made,” Rivers said. “I don’t think this is something we rejoice in or anything like that. I told the players about the decision, and I think they were happy that it’s resolution, that it’s over.”

“We can move forward,” Rivers said. “We have to. You always have to.”

Rivers, who did not prepare any formal remarks, said that he had never personally witnessed or experienced any racism from Sterling while coaching the team. When asked what he would say to Sterling right now, Rivers answered that he hadn’t given it any thought. He added that the team was practicing during Silver’s announcement and reacted with silence when he broke the news of the ban to them.

Though Sterling still owns the team, Rivers said he expects the lifetime ban to change that. “I think we’re just going to let this whole thing run its course, and we’ll all have better clarity,” he said. “I’m not in the position, nor do I want to be, where it sounds like I’m threatening anything. I want my players to be comfortable. I think that’s the most important thing. Let’s see where it goes with them.”

He added, “This is not a pity party for us, and I did tell my players that.”

 

TIME

University Rejects Donald Sterling’s $3 Million Gift

The funds would have gone toward kidney research

The University of California, Los Angeles is rejecting a $3 million gift pledged by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and returning the $425,000 he has already donated.

The university made the announcement Tuesday after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver fined Sterling $2.5 million and banned him for life following the leak of an audio recording in which he made several racist comments.

“Mr. Sterling’s divisive and hurtful comments demonstrate that he does not share UCLA’s core values as a public university that fosters diversity, inclusion and respect,” read the university’s statement.

Sterling’s gift would have supported basic kidney research at the UCLA Division of Nephrology.

TIME NBA

New NBA Commissioner’s First Big Move Is a Huge One

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver Press Conference
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver addresses the media about the investigation involving Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and accusations that he made racist remarks to a girlfriend on April 29, 2014 in New York City. Spencer Platt—Getty Images

Adam Silver is new to the job but he made a big splash early with his ban of Donald Sterling

Adam Silver silenced critics who might have questioned whether the green NBA commissioner was capable of swift action against Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling on Tuesday. Silver, who took the reins in February, imposed a lifetime ban and maximum fine for Sterling after the billionaire’s racist rant was caught on tape.

Silver has long been seen as the “good cop” to his predecessor David Stern’s “bad cop.” While Stern had a reputation as an argumentative hot-head, Silver was known for his dispassionate logic: When Stern would play the tough negotiator, Silver would do the smoothing over and hard legwork. “Adam is much more of a bridge-builder,” Danny Schayes, who played in the NBA for 18 years, told Bloomberg Businessweek when Silver was selected as the next commissioner. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban—who Stern had fined more than $1.5 million for infractions over the years—joked that Silver taking over the job would “save [him] a lot of money.”

But Silver proved on Tuesday that he’s got the guts to levy heavy fines and worse. The move is meant to pressure Sterling to sell the Clippers. (Silver said he would push owners to force the sale.)

Those who have worked with Silver in the past say that his wit, diplomacy and persuasion have gotten him to the top of the league and will allow him to continue to handle tough decisions with grace. Before working for the NBA, Silver earned degrees from Duke University and the University of Chicago Law School. He clerked for a federal judge and worked for an Oregon congressman before practicing law at Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York City.

“He showed an extraordinarily mature and rare ability to bring opponents together, and actually settle cases on his own, something I’ve never known any other law clerk to do,” Judge Kimba Wood, for whom Silver clerked, told TIME. “He used low-key, deft persuasion and good-humored wit to help parties reach a compromise that often benefited both sides.”

And while pushing Sterling out of the league will surely be a challenge, Wood believes he is capable of accomplishing such a feat. “He has delightful aplomb—for example, when a woman whose case was before another judge burst into my Chambers screaming wildly late one evening, Adam headed her off at the pass, before she got to me, convincing her that I was not in fact her enemy, and politely ushering her out the door. No task was ever beyond his power to handle, both swiftly and with an elegant presence.”

Wood also spoke highly of Silver’s humor—she recalled a time when he hired an actor to pretend to be a lawyer and burst into song when she took the bench. In fact, Silver could have had a career in comedy. Richard Appel, an executive producer on Family Guy, grew close to Silver during this time while they worked together as summer law associates. When Appel decided to pursue his dream as a comedy writer, he asked Silver to come with him, but Silver declined. “Adam is the smartest and funniest person I know,” Appel told the Wall Street Journal. “But he just looked at me and said, ‘That is not what I want to do.’”

Silver began his career at the NBA in 1992 after he sent a letter to then-NBA commissioner Stern asking him for career advice, ESPN reports. After a few meetings, Stern offered him a job as a special assistant to the commissioner, and Silver accepted.

Silver later spent eight years as the president and COO of NBA Entertainment, where he launched NBA TV and acted an executive producer on the IMAX movie Michael Jordan to the Max. He then spent six years as deputy commissioner and chief operating officer of the NBA and shared an office with Stern, who groomed Silver to take over the league. Silver was unanimously chosen as commissioner of the NBA in October of 2012 and took over for Stern on Feb. 1. At the time, Peter Holt, owner of the San Antonio Spurs and the now-chairman of the league’s board of governors, called the decision a “no-brainer.”

Silver’s decision Tuesday was a popular one, and in taking the harshest stance against Sterling with an unprecedented ban of an owner, Silver has already done much to earn back player trust and affection, which was strained during contract negotiations with the Players’ Association in 2012. “I think he’s going to work very hard to repair the relationship with the players,” Jeffrey Kessler, a lawyer for the NBA Players Association said of Silver in October 2012.

But while Silver earned praise from commentators and players alike on Tuesday, Silver’s role more than almost anything involves dealing with paperwork. He must oversee collective bargaining agreements, international TV deals and relationships with corporate sponsors. In short, he has to manage a $5-billion behemoth. And he’s quite good at it: Just three years after being named the head of the NBA’s business, Silver grew merchandising sales 67 percent. One of the ways he made his name as Stern’s right-hand man was by establishing NBA China as its own entity.

It’s a time-consuming job, and Silver has dedicated his life to it. The bachelor lives alone in New York and reportedly has few hobbies other than jogging and walking his dog.

TIME donald sterling

Breaking Down Donald Sterling’s Lifetime Ban

Sports Illustrated's Maggie Gray and TIME's Sean Gregory analyze NBA commIssioner Adam Silver's decision to expel Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling because of his racist comments.

LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling today received a lifetime ban from the NBA as well as a record $2.5 million dollar fine for racist statements that emerged last week.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced the punishment Tuesday at a news conference in New York.

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