The Donald Sterling saga could be coming full circle: What began as the owner’s racist rant about not wanting Earvin (Magic) Johnson attending Clippers games could end with Johnson owning part of the team.
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“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."
Johnson said that — whatever you may think of Sterling — he ran a good business, one Johnson and his partners at the Guggenheim Investment Group would like to buy if the price is right.
“I think the fans have already spoken," Johnson said. "They would like us to own the team. But we have to wait and see.”
It's a different tone from one Johnson struck on Monday;
Johnson cautioned that any possible purchase "is a long way off," and he told KPCC he that expects Sterling to fight to block the sale of the Clippers.
Johnson praised NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s lifetime ban on Sterling and said without it, the Clippers and the Warriors wouldn’t have taken the court and the entire NBA playoffs would have shut down.
“If the decision would have come down differently than it was, you wouldn’t have seen that game last night, or any other games from here on in the playoffs," said Johnson. "The players were ready to boycott. This was much bigger than a basketball game or the NBA.”
Johnson isn’t the only high-profile African American who’s thinking about buying a piece of the Clippers. Oprah Winfrey has expressed interest in making a bid too, along with partners David Geffen and Larry Ellison.