Steve BallmerIf you’re a high-profile investor interested in owning the Los Angeles Clippers, you’ll have to reach deep into your checkbook.

The sweepstakes for Clippers ownership continued to heat up on Thursday, with Forbes reporting former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has offered $1.8 billion to Shelly Sterling to purchase the team.

Shelly Sterling, the wife of current Clippers owner Donald Sterling, is attempting to negotiate the sale of her husband’s team on her own terms after he reportedly signed the team over to his wife last week.

Ballmer, who stepped down from Microsoft in February, has attempted to get his hands on an NBA team before. In January 2013, Ballmer was part of an investment group that hoped to purchase the Sacramento Kings from the Maloof family and move them to Seattle, but the move was rejected by NBA owners.

Ballmer is the latest in a long list of potential investors for the Clippers franchise. Former NBA stars Yao Ming and Grant Hill both expressed separate interests in purchasing the team, while celebrities Justin Bieber and Rihanna are also reportedly in the mix.

Other interested parties include investment groups with high-ranking members like Oprah Winfrey, entertainment mogul David Geffen and billionaire Larry Ellison.

No matter who ends up winning battle for Los Angeles, the Sterlings stand to return a lucrative profit on their team. Donald Sterling purchased the Clippers in 1981 for the paltry price of $12.5 million.

Photo via Twitter/@MikeElgan