2014-05-01

Co.Exist

L.A. Clippers Fans Are Raising Funds To Buy The Team And Make It A Nonprofit

Why should Oprah get to buy the Clippers instead of some well-meaning fans?

From Oprah to Magic Johnson, every millionaire and their mom is thinking about whether to buy the Los Angeles Clippers, now that the NBA says it will try to force the team’s owner, Donald Sterling, to sell as a result of his incredibly racist remarks.

Two Clippers fans, Tim Nguyen and Russell Curry, are trying to get in on the action, too.

In a day, they’ve raised more than $20,000 of their $600 million goal to buy the L.A. Clippers and turn it into a nonprofit that gives back to the community.

“If the people of Egypt can overthrow a corrupt government, why couldn’t we, as NBA basketball fans, overthrow Donald Sterling?” asks Nguyen.

“Of course, there’s going to be plenty of millionaires and billionaires in the mix, trying to get their piece of the pie too, but we know where the real power lies--and that’s with us,” adds Curry.

Sure, it’s a way long shot (even though the team is only valued at $575 million, according to Forbes, rich people in a bidding war could wind up paying as much as $1 billion) but it’s an earnest effort. And there is a little bit of precedent in the sports world. The NFL’s Green Bay Packers is the only nonprofit team in pro sports, and is owned by a community foundation--the sole reason it’s still located in the smallest professional sports market in North America. Even if they raised the funds and Donald Sterling agreed to sell to the fans, the NBA would have to approve the sale, and it’s not clear how easy that would be.

The campaign is running on Crowdtilt, a crowdfunding site that focuses on allowing families and friends--and in this case, complete strangers--to pool money for an event, group purchase, or cause. People pledge to contribute to a campaign, but aren’t charged until a critical mass goal is hit (see "The World's Most Innovative Companies in Crowdfunding").

There are 28 days left on the campaign. We wish them luck.

[Image: Los Angeles Clippers via Debby Wong / Shutterstock]

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