*Oprah Winfrey reportedly went into panic mode on the first day of filming her new movie “Selma” as she tried to organize a $1.6 billion bid for the Los Angeles Clippers.
The entertainment mogul was among several investors who formed a consortium to buy the NBA team after its owner Donald Sterling became embroiled in a racism scandal.
Winfrey was on set on the day she signed the paperwork for the bid, and had to run around the film lot looking for a fax machine to make sure the offer was put on the table.
“I was in the middle of these scenes while making the bid – literally the first day I was going to shoot,” Winfrey told Entertainment Tonight. “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.'”
Winfrey’s consortium eventually lost out to former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer, who paid $2 billion for the team. She admits now that her business advisers warned her against buying the team.
“We went over that number ($1.6 billion), 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,” she said. “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… $2 billion? – Ok, now that’s my limit.”
Officials at the National Basketball Association ordered Sterling to sell the team and fined him $2.5 million after he was caught on tape making racist remarks.