In addition to being filthy rich, the next owners of the Los Angeles Clippers are likely to be a feel-good choice as the task of moving ahead from Donald Sterling’s reign begins.
And who would be a better choice — besides, say, Oprah Winfrey or Magic Johnson or Grant Hill — than Yao Ming, the former Houston Rockets star? ESPN reported Friday that Yao, who retired in 2011 and owns the Shanghai Sharks, was putting together a bid with Chinese investors, but he denied that on Saturday without saying it in so many words.
“I just heard about it in the morning my time,” Yao said in an email to the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen on Saturday. “I really don’t know where this news came from.”
ESPN reported that Yao was interested in buying the Milwaukee Bucks but dropped out when a condition of the sale was keeping the team in Milwaukee. Hill, according to the report, is working separately with other investors. Winfrey is with David Geffen and Larry Ellison. Johnson is constantly mentioned as a possible owner, but he downplays that talk.
After racist comments became public, Sterling last week agreed to allow his wife, co-owner of the Clippers in family trust, to oversee sale of the team he purchased in 1981 for $12.5 million. Commissioner Adam Silver banned him from the league, fined him $12.5 million and urged other owners to vote to force him to sell. The Board of Governors has scheduled a June 3 meeting, with a three-fourths vote of 29 owners needed to force a sale, which is expected to bring upwards of $1 billion.