Former boxing great Oscar De La Hoya expressed interest in buying the Los Angeles Clippers Tuesday following NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s announcement that he planned to reprimand owner Donald Sterling for racist comments by forcing the team’s sale. The news comes at the same time as boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather, Jr.’s claim that he is looking into putting a group of investors together to make a bid on the team.
De La Hoya, founder and president of Golden Boy Promotions, a company that promotes boxers and boxing events, said he would like to join Mayweather in making a play for the Clippers.
“The commissioner wants to see more minority owners, so what could be better than two minorities?” he asked reporters. “Me and Floyd as part of an ownership group would be perfect.”
De La Hoya said that he is the face of Los Angeles so being part of an ownership group in the town where he was born and raised would be an honor for him. As a proud Mexican-American, he added, he would bring a different perspective to the NBA. The move would be De La Hoya’s second foray into ownership of a professional sports franchise. Along with billionaire Phil Anschutz, who co-founded Major League Soccer and owns stakes in the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Kings and the Staples Center, De La Hoya is part owner of the MLS’s Houston Dynamo.
“I know how to run a successful sports operation and nothing could make me happier than to win an NBA Championship for the sports fans of Southern California,” he said.
De La Hoya also commended Silver for what he called swift and appropriate action regarding Sterling, noting that his measures will advance the positive future of the NBA. The comments come in the wake of recent turmoil between De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer, which is reportedly threatening to shake up the most successful promotional company in boxing. Exactly what caused the rift between the two is unknown at this point and neither man is giving any indication. Once best friends with De L Hoya, Schaefer said he no longer even has his phone number and a split between the two may be forthcoming.
De La Hoya retired from boxing on April 14, 2009 with a record of 39 wins and six losses with 30 coming by knockout. He won ten world titles in six different weight classes. He has reportedly grossed more money than any other boxer in the history of the sport, with an estimated $696 million in pay-per-view sales during his seventeen-year career. He started Golden Boy in 2002, naming the company after his ring nickname, as a combat sport promotional firm. The venture made De La Hoya the first American of Hispanic descent to own a national boxing promotional firm. While he owns a majority interest, fellow boxers Bernard Hopkins and Ricky Hatton are among the firm’s owners. In 2006, the company broke a record by selling over two million pay-per-views.
Commentary by Rick Sarlat