Following the news that Donald Sterling was prepared to being the process of selling the Los Angeles Clippers, two names have popped up on the hypothetical list of potential Clippers buyers: former NBA players Grant Hill and Yao Ming.
Not to be confused as a joint venture, the two former superstars will assemble their own groups as they attempt to pursue ownership.
Recently retired, Grant Hill seems like a sensible candidate for a franchise owner. In fact, Hill was a member of the Clippers during the 2012-13 season. Brief familiarity with the franchise could bode well for his chances at nabbing the hottest commodity in sports right now.
Hill is just completing his first year in retirement after a 19-season career that ended with the Clippers after seven All-Star berths. Sources say Hill has made it known within league circles that he is in the process of putting a consortium together.
With Yao Ming, another sensible product, he delivers the aspect of adding a foreign investor to the NBA. Despite retiring early due to health issues, Yao Ming has remained a factor in increasing the popularity of the NBA around the world, mainly in Asia.
Sources say that Yao, meanwhile, also plans to pursue the Clippers hard with a group of Chinese investors. The former Houston Rockets All-Star center owns the Shanghai Sharks in his native country and has maintained close ties to the league through the NBA’s various initiatives in Asia.
Yao was seriously interested in purchasing the Bucks, sources say, but dropped out of the bidding when outgoing Milwaukee owner Herb Kohl made keeping the team in that city mandatory for any new owner. The Bucks were ultimately sold to Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry for a purchase price of $550 million.
Ming and Hill join the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Magic Johnson, Floyd Mayweather, Steve Ballmer, as famed celebrities who have expressed public interesting in purchasing the Los Angeles Clippers following the emergence of the Donald Sterling saga. Neither of the mentioned names have been acknowledged by league commissioner Adam Silver as the process has just begun, but if/when the franchise is sold, expect Silver to begin collecting names for those he thinks he suitable for ownership.
And Ming or Hill could be that person.