Patrick Soon-Shiong in Dodgers mix?

Updated: November 9, 2011, 9:27 AM ET
By Arash Markazi | ESPNLosAngeles.com

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, who purchased Magic Johnson's minority stake in the Los Angeles Lakers last year, has been approached by at least one group that is attempting to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"I've been approached," he said without getting into specifics. "Let me just say I've been approached, but I haven't made any decisions on that."

Soon-Shiong is the richest man in Los Angeles, according to Forbes and the Los Angeles Business Journal, with a net worth of over $7 billion. The 59-year-old physician, businessman and philanthropist has played a primary role in cutting-edge treatments for a wide variety of cancers. He was a 25-year season-ticket holder for the Lakers before purchasing Johnson's 4.5 percent interest in the team in October 2010.

"I'm truly passionate about basketball," said Soon-Shiong, who was born in South Africa to Chinese immigrant parents. "I'm not as passionate about baseball as I am about basketball, but I watch baseball and I watch football. I love sports in general.

"Baseball is like cricket, and I grew up in a country where they had cricket. So I understand cricket, soccer and basketball. I played basketball at the club level and a little bit in college, so that's why I'm a basketball fanatic."

Although Soon-Shiong says he isn't a baseball fanatic, one of the reasons he may be interested in purchasing the Dodgers is restoring one of the city's iconic franchises back to its former greatness.

"I'm committed to Los Angeles," Soon-Shiong said. "I believe this city has so much to offer. ... My commitment is to Los Angeles, so whatever helps this continue to be a great city, that's what I would be focused to do, and the Dodgers are certainly iconic to Los Angeles."

When asked if he was leaning toward pursuing ownership or simply considering it at the moment, he said, "I'd rather not discuss. ... This is something I'm not allowed to talk about, so I can't make any comments, unfortunately, on that."

At the very least, Soon-Shiong seems comfortable being a sports owner. He said he has enjoyed his first year as co-owner of the Lakers, saying it was one of the easiest decisions he has ever made.

"It is one of the few places where I truly get lost in the joy of the moment of that game," Soon-Shiong said. "All of the stresses and all the responsibilities are gone. It allows me to enjoy these professional athletes and enjoy time with my family and enjoy time with the fans that are around there."

Arash Markazi is a reporter and columnist for ESPNLosAngeles.com.

Arash Markazi

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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