Donald Sterling, the embattled owner of the Los Angeles Clippers banned for life by the NBA after making racist comments, has broken his silence about the scandal.
Online magazine duJour reported Friday that Sterling said, “I wish I had just paid her off,” referring to his girlfriend, identified only as V. Stiviano.
The 80-year-old billionaire was speaking with Stiviano on a recording made public last weekend, touching off a firestorm that led NBA commissioner Adam Silver to banish Sterling from the league for life.
On the recording, Sterling said he did not want Stiviano to bring black people to his game and asked her not to post pictures of herself with African Americans on social media websites.
Sterling, a real estate tycoon who bought the NBA team in 1981, is the longest-tenured owner in the league, but fellow team owners have started the process of stripping the team from him.
A 75 percent vote of the other 29 NBA owners is required to remove the team from Sterling, but the threat could push him to sell the team or take the NBA to court over the matter, potentially setting up a long legal battle.
Sterling, who bought the team for $US12 million ($A12.98 million), could sell it for at least $US600 million ($A649.18 million), with several celebrities and billionaires having already indicated an interest in owning the Clippers.