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Clippers interim CEO says team “will become America’s team if we get this right”

May 12, 2014, 6:01 PM EDT

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When the Clippers are sold out of the Sterlings’ control — and they will be sold, eventually, one way or another — the franchise will fetch a record price. Most people around the league expect a figure around $1 billion. Yes, with a “B.”

David Parsons, the new interim CEO of the Clippers, said his job is to “make sure the boat still floats” until that happens. He’s got to keep the sale price up.

Parsons came off as straight forward in his first meeting with the media, which took place Monday afternoon in Los Angeles. Parsons is the former CEO of Time Warner and the former president of Citigroup. He’s the man appointed by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to run the Clippers until the sale of the team.

Parsons described his role as “conservator” and “proxy owner” who is in Los Angeles to steer the ship now that owner Donald Sterling has been given a lifetime ban by Silver, and with former team president Andy Roeser on an indefinite leave of absence from the team. Somebody needed to be in charge, Parsons has been given the job for now. The league is paying him, he said, not the Clippers.

Parsons said he saw challenges but a real opportunity with the Clippers and the sale of the team.

“I think the Clippers will become America’s team if we get this right,” Parsons said.

A few other notes from the press conference (broadcast live on Los Angeles radio).

• On how this all ends: “The league will prevail. At the end of the day I believe ownership will change… there’s so much momentum for doing the right thing.”

• Parsons does not know either of the Sterlings and has not spoken to them. He said he would reach out to Shelly Sterling, in hopes that an ugly lawsuit can be avoided. “I think a prolonged legal battle is in no one’s interest.”

• Parsons refused to discuss his personal feelings about the Sterlings, “I’m here to turn one of the burners off under the pot. Not to turn it up higher.”

• That said, while Parsons said he knows almost everyone names as a potential buyer of the team personally, he will not be involved in the sale side of this. That will be run by the league.

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