Yesterday (April 29th), NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned the Los Angeles Clippers' owner Donald Sterling from the NBA for life and stated he will ask all the owners to vote him out. So, with a $575 million NBA team soon to be up for grabs, there is only one group that should purchase such a luxurious asset:
The Top 5 Hip Hop artists with the highest net worth are P. Diddy, Dr. Dre, Jay Z, Brian "Birdman" Williams and Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson with a combined networth of $2.05 billion, Jay Z and Birdman have to be automatically stricken out as they both have sports agencies (Roc Nation and Cash Money Sports, respectively) and thusly can not have a stake in an NBA team (hence why Jay Z sold his Brooklyn Nets share). Without their combined $680 million, that total net worth of our potential buyers drops to $1.37 billion, well above the $1 billion sale price the Clippers are rumored to be tagged for. However, net worth simply means how much all of the assets they own are worth, not necessarily how much money is in their bank account, so the purchase would be trickier.
Magic Johnson and his $500 million net worth did not purchase the Los Angeles Dodgers for $2.15 billion by himself in 2012. He, like our group of hip hop oligarchs cash kings would more than likely do, partnered with Guggenheim Group, a wealth management company which had over $200 billion in assets under their management at the time of the sale. Let us assume Diddy, Dre and 50 Cent decided to gather their funds together and acquire a financier. That group would be a coalition of the wealthiest current and former Black record label excutives, businesspeople and entertainers such as Russell Simmons, Oprah, Floyd Mayweather(whom has expressed serious interest), Rick Ross (whom is always interested) and anyone with a big enough wallet and clear enough vision.
We have our finances in order and now the fundamental question needs to be answered before Hip Hop can make history: Why would and should Hip Hop purchase the Los Angeles Clippers?
Already Have Established Business Infrastructures To Help Elevate Clippers' Brand
Imagine Dr. Dre's Beats by Dre being in charge of Staples Center's sound system. Or take Diddy, who helped increase Ciroc's revenue by 131% since handling the company's branding and marketing in 2007. With his newly created Diageo and Combs Wine & Spirits, a 50-50 split partnership with the world's largest spirits company, Staples Center could experience a exponential growth in revenue from the liquors priced between $120 and $1000+. Both men have proven to take their respective brands (Beats by Dre and Ciroc) and monetize their expansive reach. Hip Hop would turn Staples Center into a money printing factory and according to Forbes, $298 million of the Clippers reported $575 million value derives from their arena and simply being in Los Angeles (Market):
Diddy, the wealthiest Hip Hop artist with the highest estimated net worth ($700 million) has the most valuable infrastructure: Revolt TV and its relationship with Comcast/Time Warner Cable. According to Forbes, "Clippers games on Fox Sports Prime Ticket surged 55% last year and commanded the fifth biggest audiences in the NBA." Clippers are obviously a huge TV attraction, however after the Donald Sterling controversy, Fox Sports replaced the Clippers' billboards outside of Staples Center with Anaheim Angles ads, even though the Angels play 35 miles away. Time Warner Cable and the Los Angeles Dodgers' SportsNet LA channel debuted two months ago, is the only channel with the vast majority Dodgers games and has been struggling to gain subscriptions because 1. their cost is too high for cablers other than Time Warner Cable to pick it up and 2. most people in California do not have Time Warner Cable. With the Clippers' contract with Fox Sports expiring after the 2015-16 season, Hip Hop purchasing the Clippers' games could lead to an easier transition for the Clippers from Fox Sports to SportsNet LA with Diddy's REVOLT TV acting as a catalyst and hub for exclusive content for the coveted 18-35 age demographic.
But then again, Rick Ross and his superior culinary business acumen could be the key to Hip Hop acquiring the Los Angeles Clippers:
Already have relationships with the players
Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Lebron James.
No, those are not just the three best players of the last 5 years. Those are also the three best active players in the NBA that have recorded and released audio (and some video) of them rapping. The old adage that every rapper wants to be an NBA player and vice versa is not only true but is beginning to manifest in business deals. Besides rapping lyrics from Jay Z's artists, Kevin Durant is also repped by Jay Z's Roc Nation Sports and will become a free agent after June 2016.
Beyond simply a business relationship, Hip Hop artists have always had closer relationship with athletes than a Russian billionaire who wants to buy a glorified trophy for his mantel in the form of an NBA team. Chris Paul texted Kendrick Lamar after his "Control" verse dropped. Lil Wayne and Birdman partied with the Dallas Mavericks in Miami after they beat the Heat. Kobe Bryant even returned to Hip Hop..briefly and indirectly a few years ago, thanks to Kanye West:
The players are where the 1. money and 2. the fans come from and Hip Hop has been inextricable with them for the past 20 years. Worse comes to worst, if the players ever boycott, half of the team owners could be used as replacement players within a moment's notice:
Regains Hip Hop's Identity and Make Money While Doing It
Donald Sterling is a billionaire who is preparing to wage a legal battle against the NBA if 3/4 of the NBA owners vote him out and force him to make $1 billion for the sale of the Clippers. Why would a rich man fight the chance to sizably increase his wealth? A month before Sterling was forever banished out of the Garden of Spalding by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, Silver stated that advertisements on NBA jerseys during games were "inevitable" in the next five years.
When you factor in Live Nation's plans to live stream a concert every day for an entire year (with Staples Center as a constant tour stop for the biggest artists), Sterling is set to miss out on an economic boom in the NBA never before seen.
But more importantly, it would show millions of African Americans the power of a unified front and help the Clippers cultivate their African American fanbase.
The above chart is an estimated racial distribution among NBA teams' fanbases from ESPN's Nate Silver based on a variety of measuring factors. With African Americans making up roughly 8% of Los Angeles' population and White Americans making up 50.3%, their relatively close percentage shares of Clippers' fanbase indicates that the Clippers have the deepest resonance with Black people, one that can be expounded by Hip Hop.
During Hip Hop's ascension from the counterculture darling into the mainstream powerhouse in the late 90s/early 00s, the culture's identity was leased to a number of corporations in the name of commercial expansion. The Hip Hop artists with enough wealth to cause significant societal change attained such wealth by representing larger entities. Look at Rick Ross. An artist with a reported net worth of $35 million (not $92 million) lost a multimillion dollar endorsement deal over a poorly worded lyric about intoxicated sex. The days of the biggest artists making united stands on controversial issues in a public (and commercial) manner (a la "1990's" Self Destruction") may be over due to appeasing endorsers, but what if the homogenizing dominance could be used to create a symbol of progress?
Purchasing the Los Angeles Clippers could help Hip Hop stake claim into a former neo-plantation once owned by the new symbol for racism of the hour and turn it into, at the very least, a demonstration of Hip Hop's former power policing the Black culture.
We turned n*gger into n*gga. Why not?!