Oprah, David Geffen, Oracle's Ellison to Bid for Clippers

Image: Oprah, David Geffen, Oracle's Ellison to Bid for Clippers Oprah Winfrey, left, David Geffen, center, and Larry Ellison.

Wednesday, 30 Apr 2014 02:24 PM

By Drew MacKenzie

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Oprah Winfrey is teaming up with billionaires David Geffen and Larry Ellison to make a bid to buy the Los Angeles Clippers from disgraced owner Donald Sterling.

Geffen told ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap on Wednesday that billionaire Oprah, who owns the TV network OWN, would just be an investor, while he would run the team with Ellison, the CEO of Oracle.

"Oprah is not interested in running the team," said Geffen, a music and film mogul. "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.

"I'm a fan. I bring something to the table. It's fun, and I can afford it. I live in L.A., that's one thing that makes it attractive."

The sale would depend on the National Basketball Association’s board of governors voting to force Sterling to sell the team, according to ESPN.

Geffen, whose net worth is estimated at $6.2 billion, reportedly tried to buy a controlling stake in the Clippers in 2010 for $600 million, but was turned down by Sterling.

The NBA on Tuesday banned Sterling from the game for life for racist comments that outraged players, fans, and President Barack Obama, and it also fined him $2.5 million.

Editor’s Note: Billionaires Dump Stocks (See Video)

Geffen, who said he and Ellison were also interested in buying the Los Angeles Lakers, revealed that Miami Heat star LeBron James was keen to play in Los Angeles when he was a free agent in 2010.

But James told Geffen that he would not play for Sterling. "The reasons are perfectly clear," said Geffen about why James did not want to join the Clippers.

The controversy began over the weekend when the celebrity website TMZ.com released an audio recording with Sterling criticizing his girlfriend, a model who goes by the name V. Stiviano, for associating with "black people."


The recording included Sterling asking his girlfriend not to invite former Los Angeles Lakers star Earvin "Magic" Johnson to games.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he would call on the owners to vote to force Sterling to sell the team. Such a move would require approval of three-quarters of the current owners.

"I fully expect to get the support I need from the other NBA owners to remove him," Silver said.

Sterling, the longest-tenured owner of any of the 30 NBA teams, will not be allowed, meanwhile, to have any role in the operations of his team or be able to serve as one of the league's governors.

The NBA acted one day after a series of team sponsors, including auto dealer CarMax, Virgin America, State Farm, Kia Motors America, music mogul P. Diddy's water brand, AQUAHydrate, Red Bull, and Yokohama Tire all announced that they were stepping back from the team.

Music mogul Sean Combs, aka P. Diddy, and boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr. have  expressed an interest in buying the Clippers, as has real estate tycoon Rick Caruso, ESPN reported.

Magic Johnson, co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, laughed off suggestions in an appearance on ESPN on Sunday night that he might be interested in buying the team.

Editor’s Note: Billionaires Dump Stocks (See Video)

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