NBA owners agree to force sale of LA Clippers

Clockwise from top left: Boxers Floyd Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya, singer Sean Combs, media mogul David Geffen, billionaire Frank Ellison and Oprah Winfrey Who's buying the Clippers? Clockwise from top left: Boxers Mayweather and De La Hoya are interested, as is singer Sean Combs, while David Geffen, Larry Ellison and Oprah Winfrey are in talks

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A group representing National Basketball Association team owners has agreed to proceed with efforts to force the sale of the LA Clippers following a heated race row.

Owner Donald Sterling was banned from the sport for life this week after he was recorded making racist remarks.

On Thursday the 10-member NBA advisory committee unanimously agreed to begin terminating Mr Sterling's ownership.

A number of celebrities have expressed interest in purchasing the sports team.

"The committee unanimously agreed to move forward as expeditiously as possible and will reconvene next week,'' said NBA executive vice president Mike Bass.

A forced sale of the LA Clippers would require the approval of three-quarters of the 30 team owners in the NBA.

But Mr Sterling could oppose the sale in the courts, according to sports lawyers.

Television star Oprah Winfrey, media executive David Geffen and boxing legend Floyd Mayweather have been among those touted as prospective buyers.

Another casualty of the row emerged on Thursday evening, when the president of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) resigned.

Mr Jenkins had intended to present Mr Sterling with a ``lifetime achievement award'' later this month, a move he withdrew after the recording emerged in which the Clippers owner made racist comments.

In his resignation letter, Jenkins said: "In order to separate the Los Angeles NAACP and the NAACP from the negative exposure I have caused the NAACP, I respectfully resign my position.'"

In the 10-minute audio recording, Mr Sterling can be heard criticising his girlfriend V Stiviano for posting online photographs of herself with black friends at Clippers games.

"It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you are associating with black people. Do you have to?" the man says.

Donald Sterling. 21 April 2014 Donald Sterling bought the Los Angeles Clippers in 1981

On Tuesday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Mr Sterling had acknowledged it was his voice on the recording. It was not clear how or when the conversation was recorded.

Mr Silver subsequently announced Mr Sterling's expulsion from the NBA along with a $2.5m (£1.5m), the maximum allowed.

Mr Sterling's remarks caused an immediate uproar in Los Angeles and among basketball fans across the country.

The Clippers are competing in the first round of the NBA playoffs, drawing extra scrutiny to the incident.

Team coach Doc Rivers later said the lifetime ban and fine for Mr Sterling was the "start of a healing process".

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