Floyd Mayweather Jr., the boxing megamillionaire who has had his own issues with controversial race-related comments, said he has an interest in purchasing the Los Angeles Clippers, which likely will be up for sale by banned owner Donald Sterling after NBA owners vote to force him to sell, as suggested by the league’s commissioner.
Mayweather, a regular at Clippers and Lakers games in Los Angeles, met with a group of reporters in a VIP lounge at the MGM Grand, where he will face fellow welterweight titleholder Marcos Maidana in a unification fight in a Showtime network pay-per-view main event on Saturday night.
Insisting he was serious, Mayweather said he spoke with his adviser, Al Haymon, about teaming with Mayweather Promotions chief executive Leonard Ellerbe, Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer and possibly others to make a bid for the Clippers.
“I called Al about that to see if me, Leonard and Al, and hopefully Richard and a couple of other guys, a couple other of my billionaire guys, we can come together and see what we can come up with,” Mayweather said. “Hopefully, we can do it, and it’s not just talk.
“With me, I can’t come in talking about Mayweather only gonna get 3 percent, 4 percent. I got to get a solid percentage. Do we want to buy the Clippers? Yes, we do. We are very, very interested in buying the Clippers. We’ll keep the Clippers right where they’re at. When I’m not boxing, I’m at the games all the time. We do want to buy the Clippers. . .. and we can afford the Clippers.”
Mayweather, an avid sports gambler in Las Vegas, where he lives, added, “Once I get ownership in the Clippers I can no longer bet, so I have to stop that completely.”
Mayweather, whose $73.5 million in minimum purses for his two fights in 2013 made him the world’s highest-paid athlete, said his interactions with Sterling had been positive.
“Donald Sterling, he’s been getting a lot of negative press and my thing is this–I don’t have nothing negative to say about this guy,” Mayweather said. “He’s always treated me with the utmost respect. He has always invited me to games, always. Has always told me, ‘Floyd, I want you to sit right next to me and my wife.’ I don’t know about the [alleged] mistress. But I’m talking about him and the wife.”
Schaefer, who has been promoting his fights since 2007, said: “When (Mayweather) tells you guys he’s interested in buying the Clippers, he’s not just saying that for an interview. He’s really serious about it and I’m sure he could rally the necessary people around him to support him in a bid like that.”
Mayweather is not the only celebrity to show interest in buying the team. Music and film mogul David Geffen also could be a candidate, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Mayweather’s own past issues with making racist remarks could prove to be a hurdle, as could his history of legal troubles and affinity for gambling. He has been known to often wager six-figure sums on NBA games.
In 2010, he unleashed a profanity-filled rant with racial overtones in an Internet video against Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao, with whom he has not been able to make a deal to fight in what would be boxing’s biggest event.