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No slam dunk

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Whenever an NBA franchise is put up for sale, former Houston Rockets star Yao Ming is rumoured as a potential suitor.

It happened when the Milwaukee Bucks were sold for $550 million this year. And the speculation started again when the bidding started for the LA Clippers. Citing sources, ESPN said the retired player was leading a Chinese consortium to bid for the Los Angeles-based franchise.

Yao himself quickly rejected the reports. But Chinese media followed up with keen interest too. Most newspapers thought Yao’s name was being mentioned to beef up the Clippers’ price tag, although many in the local press reckoned it would make a good pairing.

However, it now appears that the speculation was faulty once again, after former Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer was revealed to be close to a $2 billion takeover. Forbes had earlier estimated the franchise was worth $675 million, ranking it 13th in the league. But now Ballmer looks likes paying the highest price ever for a NBA franchise.

Job done, then, in linking Yao’s consortium to the Clipper sale perhaps? Yes, but expect those Yao rumours to resurface the next time an NBA franchise comes up for sale.

In the meantime some of his fans are suggesting on social media that if the Houston Rockets becomes available, Yao will go to the hoop to buy his former club.


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