Dick Parsons was installed as interim CEO of the L.A. Clippers on Friday, and just hours after his appointment was announced was vowing to make coach and senior vice president of personnel Doc Rivers “a full-fledged partner.”
Parsons, a former CitiGroup and Time Warner Cable executive, takes over the day-to-day business operations of the Clippers after Donald Sterling, the league’s longest tenured owner, was banned for life and fined a league maximum $2.5 million after a video of him admonishing a girlfriend “not to bring black people to my games” was recently made public.
“Here’s what I spoke to Doc about,” Parsons told ESPN. “When he went out there, as he put it to me, one of the factors was that the then-management said, ‘We don’t know that much about basketball. You come, you run the basketball operations, we’ll run the business.’ So that’s where I am in my head about it. I haven’t the foggiest idea of what to do in the draft.’ I’m going to be looking to him to figure that out, and we’ll work on this as partners.”
The 66-year-old Parsons will directly report to the league and is being deemed as a “proxy owner” of the franchise Sterling has owned for the last 33 years. Also a lawyer by trade, Parsons left that profession more than two decades ago to soon become chairman and CEO of Time Warner.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told ESPN of Parsons “he will bring extraordinary leadership and immediate stability to the Clippers organization.”
Parsons, who is black, added he intends to reach out to Sterling’s wife, Shelly, who also owns 50 percent of the franchise and has expressed an interest in retaining her shares to “work cooperatively, collaboratively and collegially.”
Since word of the league’s plan to force Sterling into selling the team such noted celebrities as Oprah Winfrey, Sean “Diddy” Combs, David Geffen and Oscar De La Hoya have all expressed at least a preliminary interest in purchasing the team expected to sell for upwards of $1 billion.