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NBA owners to meet Thursday on Donald Sterling

Los Angeles Clippers team owner Donald Sterling watches

Los Angeles Clippers team owner Donald Sterling watches his team play in Los Angeles on Oct. 17, 2010. Credit: AP / Mark J. Terrill

With celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. expressing an interest in buying the Los Angeles Clippers, a committee of 10 NBA owners is set to meet Thursday by telephone to talk about the next steps in forcing Donald Sterling to sell the team.

Sterling was banned for life from the league and fined $2.5 million for making racist comments in a taped conversation with his girlfriend. NBA commissioner Adam Silver also said he would ask the league's owners to vote to force Sterling to sell the team.

There are a number of parties interested in buying the team, including media superstar Winfrey. A Winfrey spokesperson issued a statement Wednesday saying that she is in discussions with David Geffen and Larry Ellison to make a bid for the team.

Geffen, the media mogul who has a net worth of $6.2 billion, tried to buy a controlling stake in the Clippers in 2010 but ultimately was rebuffed by Sterling. Ellison, the co-founder of Oracle and third-wealthiest man in America according to Forbes, has been trying to buy an NBA team for years, expressing interest in the past in the Grizzlies, Warriors and Hornets.

Music mogul Sean "P. Diddy" Combs tweeted his interest in going after the Clippers, and Mayweather wants to form a group to buy the team. Celebrities ranging from Matt Damon to Oscar De La Hoya expressed interest in joining an ownership group.

Under league bylaws, the league needs three-fourths of its Board of Governors -- or 22 of 29 owners -- to vote Sterling out. Silver said he was confident he would get the votes, and that seems to be backed up by the numerous statements of support that have been issued by teams since the ban.

Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive said on ABC's "Good Morning America" Wednesday that he believes the vote will be unanimous. "The owners I know are all color blind and they found that this behavior was outrageous," he said.

There has been no timetable scheduled for the vote, but Thursday's telephone meeting of the NBA Owner's Finance and Advisory committee could lay the groundwork for taking it.

Minnesota owner Glen Taylor chairs the committee, which also includes Miami's Micky Arison, the Lakers' Jeanie Buss, Oklahoma City's Clay Bennett, Boston's Wyc Grousbeck, San Antonio's Peter Holt, Phoenix's Robert Sarver, Indiana's Herb Simon, Toronto's Larry Tanenbaum and the Knicks' James Dolan, who is also the CEO of Cablevision, owner of Newsday.

The league has been under intense pressure from players, fans and sponsors since Sterling's comments to his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, were aired by TMZ. In the recorded conversation, Sterling objected to Stiviano posting a photograph of herself with Magic Johnson on Instagram. He then asked her not to bring Johnson or black people to his games.

Since then, almost every Clippers sponsor has ended or announced they were taking a break from their association with the team. The players' union also considered boycotting Tuesday night's playoff games, until Silver announced Sterling's ban and potential ouster. With AP

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