As the sports world reels from the sheer magnitude of Donald Sterling’s racism, everybody wants to know: What can the NBA actually do about it? There are a lot of layers to this issue, from the question of whether Sterling made these most recent comments in ostensible privacy (or did Sterling’s own recordings lead to his downfall, Richard Nixon style?) to the fact that Sterling is still “a part of the NBA family,” as Adam Silver put it, and family members who paid a lot of money to be here are hard to get rid of.
Assuming that the NBA moves to remove Sterling as the Clippers owner — and barring any unforeseen circumstances, the league MUST take that step if it wants to retain legitimacy and respect — a best-case scenario has emerged for the fate of the team, one that is not only steeped in delicious irony but plain good business: Sell the team to Magic Johnson and his partners.
From Yahoo Sports:
Magic Johnson and his billionaire backers, the Guggenheim Partners, want a chance to purchase the Los Angeles Clippers, league sources told Yahoo Sports. “Magic’s absolutely interested,” one source closely connected to Johnson’s business interests told Yahoo Sports on Sunday night.
To bail themselves out of the NBA’s worst crisis of credibility since the Tim Donaghy officiating scandal, the easy part for the NBA will be enlisting the eagerness and financial muscle of Magic Johnson and Mark Walter of the Guggenheim Partners – owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers…
“This is 100 percent Magic’s plan,” a league official intimately involved in the buying and selling of franchises told Yahoo Sports.
Good on Magic, who was apparently the source of Sterling’s consternation, and now has the opportunity to turn one man’s hate into his own fortune. Magic is seen as one of the most respected names in basketball and the business of sports, and his ownership of the Clippers, as noted by Adrian Wojnarowski, could change the balance of power in L.A. basketball forever. It’s really a win-win situation for everyone — except maybe the Lakers, and definitely Sterling, but fuck that guy, right?
We are still a long way from any sort of transaction taking place. The first step will be to ban Sterling from attending any more playoff games this season, which Silver is expected to do by tomorrow. Then we’ll take it from there.
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