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Magic Johnson expresses interest in buying Clippers from Donald Sterling

May 2, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT

Magic Johnson’s denial that he wants to buy the Clippers from Donald Sterling was sandwiched by reports that he did.

Should we believe Johnson or those reports?

According to Johnson, those reports.

Johnson, via Ben Bergman of 89.3 KPCC:

“I will be owning an NBA team sometime,” Johnson told a gathering of business leaders Wednesday at the Milken Global Conference in Beverly Hills. “Is the Clippers the right situation? Of course. It’s one of the premiere franchises.”

“I think the fans have already spoken,” Johnson said. “They would like us to own the team. But we have to wait and see.”

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Johnson gave himself a semantic out in his denial, implying he didn’t want to buy the Clippers because they have an owner. Do they still have an owner? Yes, but you could twist it the other way if you desire. Johnson desires.

Really, there was no reason for the charade, and I’m glad it’s over. Johnson obviously wanted to avoid the appearance of impropriety after he’d gone on television to say the NBA should remove Sterling as owner. How would it look if he then bought the team?

Just fine.

Despite his apparent worries – which seem to be over now – Johnson remains beloved in the NBA community. He’ll have competition, but he’d be welcomed as Clippers owner.

It could be a long road until the team is sold, but Johnson is openly travelling it now.

  1. spursareold - May 2, 2014 at 9:49 AM

    Sterling berates his GF for bringing Magic and other black people to the games.

    Sterling is forced to sell.

    Magic ends up owning the Clippers.

    Fine, wrought irony scenario.

    • chunkala - May 2, 2014 at 4:01 PM

      And a huge lawsuit involving Magic especially if she taped DS without his knowledge.
      She’ll be facing 5 years and Magic will be implicated (rightly, wrongly) in a conspiracy case.

  2. csbanter - May 2, 2014 at 10:04 AM

    Let the conspiracy folks have the room. Then again many have been on board with the idea this was a setup from day one.

    • sasquash20 - May 2, 2014 at 11:38 AM

      It clearly was a set up. If one side seceretly records its a set up

      • asimonetti88 - May 2, 2014 at 12:28 PM

        Clearly she was trying to make money off him. Give Sterling this, he hasn’t let her bleed him for money.

  3. jimbo75025 - May 2, 2014 at 10:04 AM

    Fact is if magic ends up with the team there is going to be a lot of suspicions all things considered.

  4. Punk - May 2, 2014 at 10:12 AM

    This whole thing started because of girlfriends picture with Magic Johnson. If it ends with Johnson buying the team at some point we have to ask, was it a setup?

    • asimonetti88 - May 2, 2014 at 10:57 AM

      What about the pictures with Matt Kemp? Is that a conspiracy too?

    • sasquash20 - May 2, 2014 at 11:40 AM

      She recorded the conversation. It clearly was a set up cpt obvious

      • Punk - May 2, 2014 at 12:20 PM

        There is the obvious set up. Hers.

        But that isn’t what we’re talking about.

  5. mogogo1 - May 2, 2014 at 10:13 AM

    It’s been a bizarre story already but having Sterling sell to the guy he didn’t even want attending games would make it stranger still. There are going to be multiple groups interested who will all be offering essentially the same amount of money. I suppose he could do it to try and prove he really isn’t a racist, but nothing on those tapes suggests he’d be into Magic owning his team.

    • spursareold - May 2, 2014 at 10:37 AM

      Sterling can’t manage the sale. He’s been barred from all activites dealing with the Clippers. The league will manage the sale. Sterling will get the money.

      • mogogo1 - May 2, 2014 at 10:54 AM

        But will that hold up in court? I’m no fan of Sterling but legally speaking it’s one thing to be able to force somebody to sell, but quite another to tell them they don’t have any control over the sale. The NBA outright bought the Hornets when they took them over. But here it sounds like the plan to manage the sale for Sterling. Say they sell to Magic’s group for a billion but there was another bid for a bit more than that. Do they pay Sterling the amount of the higher bid? Because it’s doubtful the league will want to be tied to selling to the highest bidder but that’s clearly what he’d be most interested in. This has lots of legal questions.

      • asimonetti88 - May 2, 2014 at 10:57 AM

        It will probably be a blind bidding process, like the Dodgers were.

      • paleihe - May 2, 2014 at 11:16 AM

        Since the NBA is gonna manage the sell, their fiduciary responsibility is to get as much as possible for their client, Sterling. They don’t really have a choice there.

      • chunkala - May 2, 2014 at 4:04 PM

        If Sterling has to sell (still debatable in my mind) then the league better get him close to $!B for the team otherwise he will win an antitrust lawsuit against the NBA for at least 3x the damages. So we’re talking an extra 2-3B out of the NBA’s pocket.

      • shanelsweet - May 2, 2014 at 5:32 PM

        Bingo. Now try to convince folks that it shouldn’t take the other owners and Sterling long to figure out an outrageous price for him to leave Then, just pay it. This won’t drag on for years at all

  6. campcouch - May 2, 2014 at 10:23 AM

    Really? The proclaimed racist is going to sell his team to a black guy…that makes no sense,unless he really isn’t racist,he’s just an 80 year old man who is doing what old men do and just hate everything except money.

    • spursareold - May 2, 2014 at 10:32 AM

      The league manages the sale, NOT Sterling.

      • mogogo1 - May 2, 2014 at 10:48 AM

        That is how the league plans to do it but will Sterling let that happen without filing a lawsuit? And could he potentially win such a suit? I think they’re on solid ground being able to force him to sell the team, but trying to run the sale looks problematic to me. The league actually bought the Hornets when they took them over, so this is a totally different scenario. Sterling will have a pretty legitimate claim that they shorted him on the sale price if they don’t go with the highest bidder and even then he could argue that he would have made more running the sale himself.

    • imnotyourbuddyguy - May 2, 2014 at 10:38 AM

      Ya, once they get the 75%, Sterling no longer has the ability to sell the team. They will do it for him and send him a check.

      • chunkala - May 2, 2014 at 4:05 PM

        Ah, not quite. Might want to brush up on your legal knowledge or at least stop taking it from ESPN sources.

    • sire2334 - May 2, 2014 at 10:50 AM

      Are you seriously implying that after everything this man has done and said…(and I’m not even referring to the Magic Johnson stuff) is not racist? Wow…The crazy thing is that personally, as an african american, I dont even care about what he said. If thats your views, so be it. I dont have to live in his buildings. But don’t sit there and pretend that we’re all fools. Come on campcouch….You’re better than that. Or at least you should be.

  7. rdrfan - May 2, 2014 at 10:34 AM

    Go away Magic. Sick of you years ago . Just keep playing to the dumb a$$ people and you will be ok. You are as Phony as they come.

  8. sire2334 - May 2, 2014 at 10:51 AM

    Who are these “dumb a$$” people you speak of? Just asking…

  9. sasquash20 - May 2, 2014 at 11:44 AM

    Well played by someone. Clearly knew Sterling couldnt keep his mouth shut and played it perfectly.

  10. mvp43 - May 2, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    I lost all repect for Magic after he sent that tweet out regarding D’Antoni. That was completely unprofessional and not the behavior that I expect from a potential owner of a NBA team.

    • hojo20 - May 2, 2014 at 12:49 PM

      Magic owning the team would be great. The first owner with AIDS in professional sports. Go Magic!

  11. chiadam - May 2, 2014 at 12:36 PM

    Why is everyone skipping over the fact that Magic just called the Clippers one of the premiere franchises?

  12. au1978 - May 2, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    Some of yall are nuts. Did the government set up 911, too? Everything doesn’t have to be a conspiracy. Smh.

    • eugenesaxe1 - May 2, 2014 at 3:38 PM


  13. eugenesaxe1 - May 2, 2014 at 3:35 PM

    If Magic is so offended by Sterling’s racism, why is he so eager to put a billion dollars in Sterling’s bank account? Symbolism > practicality?

  14. jolink653 - May 2, 2014 at 4:41 PM

    Imagine this was all some sort of elaborate scheme by Magic to buy the Clippers? Take pictures with Sterling’s gf knowing how he’d react, have her tape it, have it released so Sterling would be forced to sell and then step in to buy it? It would be the most epic scheme of all time haha

  15. provguard - May 2, 2014 at 5:48 PM

    No way! Let Oprah have the Clippers. I don’t like the ties of the “girlfriend from hell” and Magic… She should be going to jail and I hope and Sterling sells and just goes away…

  16. mazblast - May 2, 2014 at 10:30 PM

    Given his status as a Lakers icon, if Magic owned all or part of the Clippers, any rational person would have to question his loyalties. Would he really be putting the Clippers first, or the lesser team in the building?

  17. rdrfan - May 3, 2014 at 1:35 AM

    Go away Johnson. You and your son should own bath houses not a basketball team.

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