Clippers interim CEO Dick Parsons said the franchise "will become America’s team if we get this right," during a press conference the organization held on Monday at the Staples Center to introduce him.
Parsons — a former Citigroup chairman who had also served as Time Warner chairman and CEO -- will help lead the team while the NBA works out its impending legal battle with the Sterling family. The 66-year-old said it is his belief that "the league will prevail" in forcing embattled owner Donald Sterling to sell the team in the wake of racist comments he admitted to making during a taped private phone call in April.
"The league will prevail. At the end of the day I believe ownership will change… there’s so much momentum for doing the right thing."
He added that a "prolonged" legal battle is in no one's interest as the league looks to force Sterling to sell by a three-fourths vote of the team's owners. Sterling's wife, Shelly, who is in the midst of filing for divorce against the 81-year-old billionaire, said it's her plan to transfer the ownership to herself. The NBA released a statement on Sunday night saying that all interested parties are not eligible to own the team if the contract with the majority owner is voided, as per the rules set forth in the contract Sterling signed when he assumed control of the team in 1981 for a price of $12. 5 million. Shelly's attorney said U.S. and California laws trump any sort of contract brought by the NBA.
Parsons said he sees his job as primarily bringing a sense of calm after a tense situation.
"I’m here to turn one of the burners off under the pot. Not to turn it up higher.”