<National Report>Famed actor Mel Gibson may have fallen from the spotlight in recent years, but that doesn’t change the fact that by many estimates, the once-monumental Hollywood star is worth nearly $1 billion. And according to sources within the NBA, Gibson is planning on meeting with NBA officials later this week to potentially use some of his funds to buy the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team.
Insiders say that Gibson reached out personally Tuesday evening to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, whom Gibson met in 2006 at a party related to Gibson’s film Apocalypto. Silver, who worked behind the scenes on a number of NBA-related films over the years, allegedly struck up a personal friendship with Gibson, and would regularly contact him for film advice. Gibson scheduled meetings with Silver and other NBA officials for Friday, Saturday, and Monday, and Silver has apparently agreed, with TMZ having acquired scheduling documents showing Gibson’s appointments.
Gibson was a massive movie star through the 80’s and 90’s, starring in a number of blockbusters including Braveheart, Ransom, and the Lethal Weapon and Mad Max franchises. But Gibson’s reputation has since been tarnished by numerous allegations of racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, and homophobic statements, as well as a lengthy string of legal troubles, allegations of domestic violence, alcoholism, and more. So it remains unclear if the NBA will allow the sale, or if Silver is merely setting up the meetings as a show of support for Gibson.
“The staff [in Silver's offices] have two schools of thought on all this Gibson-meeting stuff,” says one employee of Silver’s, who asked that he remain anonymous, fearing for his job. “Either [Silver] believes Mel Gibson is a changed man, and this sale of the Clippers to him is the first major step on his road to redemption, or more likely, [Silver] is just doing this to humor Mel Gibson, and he’ll find some way of talking him out of the purchase. But given all the things Gibson has said over the years, about packs of black guys raping his girlfriend or whatever, I don’t think he’d be a good choice. He’s not who the Clippers or the NBA needs right now.”
But Gibson’s publicist has a different take on the sale. “I don’t know if it’s true or not. Mel hasn’t told me anything about buying the Clippers. But what I can tell you is that he’s a changed man. He’s been totally focused on rebuilding his career and getting as much screen time as possible. He’s sorry about the terrible things he’s said and done in the past, and he really wants to show his fans that he’s got what it takes to make a comeback. This is Mel Gibson 2.0, and this version isn’t a racist or an anti-Semite. If he was, I wouldn’t be working for him.”
The Clippers have an estimated value of approximately $700 million. But league insiders claim the NBA might be willing to make a deal with a potential buyer, offsetting the cost with ticket and merchandise sales in that time, which might drop Gibson’s actual price down to an estimated $435 million. They’ll also be discussing the possibility that Gibson could pay that lowered price over the course of six years, provided the league takes in larger shares of the team’s profits in that period. No one from the NBA would comment on the scheduled meetings with Gibson or any of the speculation revolving around the possible sale.