Talk show host turned entertainment mogul Oprah Winfrey is in talks with billionaire media executive David Geffen and Oracle Corp CEO Larry Ellison to make a bid to buy the Los Angeles Clippers should the team become available, her spokeswoman said on Wednesday.
The statement from Winfrey came a day after the National Basketball Association imposed a lifetime ban against Clippers owner Donald Sterling for racist remarks attributed to him and moved to force him to sell his team.
The National Basketball Association’s 29 team owners will likely vote to force Donald Sterling to sell the Los Angeles Clippers after he was banned for life for racist comments, some of the owners said on Wednesday.
As it appeared more likely the team would be put up for sale, talk show host turned media businesswoman Oprah Winfrey emerged among potential buyers who have expressed interest. She said she was in discussions with producer and film studio executive David Geffen and Oracle Corp computer technology Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison to bid for the team if it becomes available.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who also announced a $2.5 million fine on Sterling on Tuesday, asked the league’s governing board of fellow owners to act immediately to force Sterling to sell the club he bought 33 years ago.
Although no firm date for the vote was given by the NBA, early indications were that owners would overwhelmingly support the unprecedented move.
“We run a color blind league and this should not be tolerated,” Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive told ESPN Radio. “The only thing we care about is do you have game.
“I would be surprised if this was not a unanimous vote. The owners are amazing people, they are color blind and I fully expect a unanimous vote.”
Under the NBA’s own bylaws, it is up to the league’s owners to decide whether to force the sale of the Clippers franchise.
At least three-quarters of the owners would have to support the move but sports business experts said Sterling’s peers might be leery of action they felt could jeopardize their own property rights in the future.