Donald Sterling bought the Clippers in 1981 for $12.5 million. As recently as five years ago, if he put the team up for sale, it probably would’ve been through Craigslist. But now, if the disgraced 80-year-old is forced to sell by the NBA, the franchise could fetch $700 million.
That’s a pretty penny of profit, and it beats spending millions to dress up and/or shut up V. Stiviano. Plus, what real estate magnate wouldn’t enjoy more than a 5,000-percent yield on a property? Of course, in Sterling’s case, it took him 33 years to flip the house.
Anyway, everyone in Los Angeles — with the exception of me, my barber and Tony Danza’s personal assistant — is considering buying the Clippers. Here’s a scouting report on some of the top and prospective contenders:
Larry Ellison, David Geffen and Oprah Winfrey: Let’s start with a simple question: Considering Ellison, worth $50.2 billion, could buy every NBA team and still have $30 billion left over, why does he need Geffen’s money ($6.2 billion) and Oprah’s money ($2.9 billion)? Let’s ask another simple question: Considering Ellison already has basketball courts on two of his yachts , is there any chance he is going to move the Clippers out to sea?
And let’s close with a simple sentiment: Considering Geffen literally believes he owns some of the Pacific Ocean beach behind his Malibu home (uh, it’s public land), we don’t need his special kind of wealth elsewhere in Los Angeles; he’s just a power player who craves more power.
Magic Johnson and Guggenheim Partners: I’m all for Magic — he’s deserves the biggest footprint possible in Los Angeles. But these Guggenheim Partners already have concentrated enough wealth within their investment banking/investment management/investment advisory walls.
Besides, can’t the Clippers become community-owned, like the NFL’s Green Bay Packers? If it were up to me, I’d take all the doormen in Los Angeles — are there doormen in L.A.? — and let them run the team as a nonprofit, public trust. The Clippers should be The People’s Team!
(Column Intermission I: The Lakers, the city’s other basketball team, have narrowed their list of possible coaching replacements for Mike D’Antoni to the following — Tom Thibodeau, George Karl, John Calipari, Kurt Rambis, Derek Fisher, Byron Scott, Jeff Van Gundy, Stan Van Gundy, Eddie Van Halen, Larry Brown, Hubie Brown, H. Rap Brown, Judge Joe Brown, Magic Johnson, Oprah Winfrey, Stedman Graham, Neil Patrick Harris, Whoopi Goldberg and Mike D’Antoni.)
(Column Intermission II: I love ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd — though he fired me several years ago from making NFL picks — but was dismayed last week when he said he had never heard of Sadie Hawkins Day or a Sadie Hawkins dance. Colin, Colin, Colin, you’ve lived in America, like, 50 years; that degree of cultural ignorance is — I hate to say it — almost a fireable offense.)
Patrick Soon-Shiong: The surgeon/philanthropist/businessman/professor reputedly is the wealthiest resident of Los Angeles. As a fellow Angeleno, I would respectfully request he use his money instead to prevent 63-year-old producers from courting 24-year-old models, ban tattooed servers from the city’s restaurants and create a Botox-only lane on the 405.
Dr. Dre: By purchasing the Clippers, the legendary hip-hop producer/headphone tycoon hopes to revive the East Coast-West Coast Rap Wars with Jay Z; of course, he would have to convince Jay Z to drop his L.A.-based sports talent agency and return to his small ownership stake in the Brooklyn Nets.
Will Smith: The 45-year-old actor supposedly is having some trouble with his 15-year-old offspring, Jaden. Giving the kid the Clippers as a Christmas present could smooth over all father-son friction.
Billy Crystal: Owing to his comedy-club roots, the comedian/actor would petition the league to allow two shows nightly (NBA doubleheaders!) and adjust ticket pricing to a flat $175 cover/two-drink minimum per seat.
Matt Damon: Most actors want to direct. I guess owning an NBA team is like directing an unscripted drama.
Kim, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian: The Kardashians would attempt to become the first NBA ownership group to date all the players on its team’s roster.
Jay Leno: All home games would begin at 11:35 p.m.
Q: When you watch the NFL draft, do you meditate, self-medicate or PBR it? (David Hess; Seattle)
A: My doctor prescribes Zetia to reduce my cholesterol and NFL draft abstinence to reduce my blood pressure.
Q: Aside from the pope and Peyton Manning, can you think of anyone who has never said something offensive in a private conversation? (Paul Walorski; Columbus, Ind.)
A: Teller from Penn & Teller.
Q: Was Mendy Rudolph the last referee to call traveling in the NBA? (Steve Dunn; Humble, Tex.)
A: Yes — March 2, 1974, on Ernie DiGregorio.
Q: Is hell other people, as the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre claimed, or is it watching Golf Channel? (Phil Garon; Falls Church)
A: Pay the man, Shirley.
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