EXCLUSIVE: Oprah on Her Clippers Bid: Two Billion's My Limit!
By David Weiner
Amid the controversy surrounding the recent exit of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, a tough bidding war broke out to buy the hot basketball team, with former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer reportedly paying $2 billion for the ownership privilege. Oprah Winfrey was one of those competitive bidders, and she shared exclusive details with ET's Nancy O'Dell about her excitement over the prospect -- and ultimate disappointment that it didn't work out.
Speaking from the set of Selma, her new biopic about Martin Luther King, Lyndon Johnson and the civil rights marches that changed America, Oprah shared, "I was in the middle of these scenes while making the bid -- literally the first day I was going to shoot. ... I had to run upstairs in the building, find a fax machine -- we’re putting in the bid and I’m signing it, and I’m thinking, 'How ironic is that? I’m playing a woman who can’t get the right to vote, and now you’re putting in a bid [to buy a professional sports team].'"
But the skyrocketing price of the team proved to be too rich for even Oprah's blood, and her legal advisors informed her that it would ultimately not be a wise business decision for her: "I always look at things as: Whatever is supposed to happen, happens. ... We went over that number, and then we went over that number again, and by the time we got to the final number [it was no longer] a good business decision. But for me? I was doing it. You know, my lawyers were like, 'Do you even like basketball?' I said, Yes, I LOVE basketball! And this is gonna be so much fun!' ... I thought it would be entertaining."
She added, "When I woke up this morning, when I realized we weren’t going to get it, I thought, 'How was I going to make those meetings, anyway?'
Nancy told her, "I’m glad you didn’t pay $2 billion anyway. That’s crazy," to which Oprah replied, "$2 billion -- OK, now that’s my limit!"
Of course, Nancy said that if Lady O had indeed bought the team, she and everyone would be clamoring for court side seats. Oprah laughed, "That’s one reason I’m glad we didn’t get it -- because a lot of people would be like, 'Oprah? Got any Clippers tickets?'"
For more of Nancy's interview with Oprah in which she reflects on the late, great Maya Angelou, CLICK HERE.