There are certain people who bring a level of credibility and reassurance to a situation or crisis. Richard Parsons is one of those people. The former chairman and CEO of Time Warner and former chairman of Citigroup was tapped by the National Basketball Association to become the interim CEO of the Los Angeles Clippers.
The basketball league has been roiled ever since audio of team owner Donald Sterling’s racist railing against African Americans surfaced late last month. He was fined $2.5 million and banned for life from the NBA, which means he can’t be involved in the day-t0-day operation of the team he has owned since 1981. Whether the NBA will be successful in forcing Sterling or his wife to sell is another matter.
I’ve known Parsons since my years on the New York Daily News editorial board. When we were making noises about the failed state of the famed Apollo Theater in Harlem in the 1990s, it was Parsons as honcho of Time Warner who stepped in to help save the historic theater. It was then that I saw what the man could do. By asking Parsons to take on the Clippers, the NBA signaled it means business. By accepting, Parsons signaled that the Clippers were worth saving.
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