MANILA – American boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. has expressed interest in buying the Los Angeles Clippers, after the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver declared that team owner Donald Sterling has been banned for life.
Silver on Tuesday banned Sterling from the sport and fined him $2.5-M over his racist comments that drew the ire of current and former players, fans, sponsors, other NBA team owners, and President Barack Obama.
Silver also urged the other NBA team owners to vote to force Sterling to sell the Clippers franchise. Sterling is the longest-tenured owner in the league, having owned the team for 33 years.
Mayweather, who is set to fight Marcos Maidana on May 3 in Las Vegas, told reporters that he wants to purchase the team.
“Do we want to buy the Clippers? Yes, we do. We’re very, very interested in buying the Clippers,” Mayweather, a big basketball fan, said, as quoted by RingTV and other media outlets.
“We’d keep the Clippers right where they’re at,” he added. “When I’m off and I’m not boxing, I’m at the games all the time.”
“It’s fun to go to the games and to talk trash to the players. Shoot the s*** with the players, but we do want to buy the Clippers. We do. Me and my team do want to buy the Clippers, and we can afford the Clippers.”
Mayweather, the highest paid athlete in the world, said he will talk to Golden Boy chief executive Richard Schaefer and “a couple of my other billionaire guys” regarding a potential purchase of the Clippers.
“We can come together and see what we can come up with,” he said. “Hopefully, we can do it. And it’s not just talk. I do want to. I wouldn’t mind. Once I get ownership in the Clippers, I can no longer bet, so I would have to stop that.”
Mayweather is not the only one interested in buying the Clippers. Billionaire media executive David Geffen is also interested, Reuters reported.
Former Laker and now part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers Earvin “Magic” Johnson has denied rumors that he is interested in buying the Clippers, however.
Mayweather refused to say anything negative about Sterling, however, saying the man “always treated me with the utmost respect” and invited him to games.
The controversy surrounding Sterling started over the weekend when TMZ released an audio recording with a voice said to be Sterling’s, criticizing a woman friend for associating with “black people,” and asking her not to invite Johnson into Clippers games.
Silver later told reporters that the voice on the recording has been confirmed as Sterling’s.
“The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful,” said Silver. -- With a report from Reuters.