NBA players should buy the Clippers
Black labor, Black wealth
Since Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Don Sterling has been banned from the National Basketball Association, a group of potential buyers have been bandied about in the media. It isn’t often an NBA franchise is up for sale so names such as Oprah Winfrey, Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs, David Geffen, Floyd “Money” Mayweather and Dr. Dre have been floated.
But it is time a group of African American National Basketball players step up. Former players that is, since NBA rules prohibit current players from becoming owners.
“It would be a violation of the collective bargaining agreement,” NBA spokesperson Tim Frank told the Michigan Citizen.
To date, over 75 percent of the league’s players are Black but owners are overwhelmingly white. While few African Americans have had majority ownership of a NBA team, there have been several minority owners, some former players. In 2000, basketball legend Michael Jordan became the third minority Black owner in the NBA, with Magic Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers and husband and wife Edward and Bettiann Gardner of the Chicago Bulls.
Other past and current co-owners include Isiah Thomas (Toronto Raptors) and David Robinson (San Antonio Spurs); entertainers Jay-Z and Bill Cosby (New Jersey Nets), Usher (Cleveland Cavaliers), and media mogul Bob Johnson (Charlotte Bobcats).
Team ownership is the next hurdle in economic justice. The model of Black labor and white wealth cannot endure in the National Basketball Association.
Next week, the NBA will meet to remove Sterling of ownership. A three-quarters majority vote is required to force a sale.
The NBA has the ability to not just sell to the highest bidder but to select the owners who will determine the best direction for the team.
The message, after the long track record of Sterling’s racism and the league’s structural inequity, is ownership for African Americans.
Like our grandparents rent parties, if enough wealthy African Americans — some former players, the common effort could net the Clippers team.
The team was valued at $575 million earlier this year but the selling price could reach $1 billion.
What sweeter justice than to oust Sterling and put the Clippers team in the hands of those he disparaged.
Sterling bought the team in 1981 for $12.7 million. He was banned from the NBA for life and fined $2.5 million for his racist comments made public.