Carolina Panthers

Stephen Curry wants a slice of Carolina Panthers. Here's why it's a long shot now.

Despite reports that a potential ownership group he planned to join had pulled out of the bidding for the Carolina Panthers, Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry said this week that he still hoped to own a piece of his hometown's NFL team.

The former NBA MVP spoke to reporters after Thursday's practice ahead of Friday night's game against the Atlanta Hawks. Curry, returning from an ankle injury, led the Warriors to a win but was forced to leave in the third quarter after spraining his knee during a collision with a teammate.

Curry indicated that he remained interested in buying a chunk of Charlotte's team, though he didn't reveal details about what he's been doing toward that goal. But he indicated he'd be willing to share news when and if a significant move were to take place.

“Not a distraction but definitely something I’m working on,” Curry told reporters. “Trying to figure out the right moves and the right partners. You’ll hear stuff when I’m ready to make that be known all the way around, but it’s still ongoing.”

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Curry's name was linked to a possible ownership group headed by Michael Rubin, an e-commerce billionaire. Bloomberg reported Wednesday that Rubin's group wasn't willing to match a price for the Panthers that reportedly had reached $2.5 billion. That amount would set a record for the sale of a U.S. professional sports franchise.

ESPN has reported that sources said Curry, along with music star and mogul Sean "Diddy'' Combs, belonged to Rubin's group. However, ESPN had only been able to confirm Alibaba Group's Joseph Tsai, another billionaire businessman, as a potential investor with Rubin, the executive chairman of sports-apparel company Fanatics.

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Panthers owner Jerry Richardson announced in December that he was putting the team up for sale after allegations of sexual and racial misconduct toward former team employees surfaced.

The Panthers sale will come up for discussion starting Sunday at the NFL annual meetings in Orlando. The Observer has identified four potential buyers: Rubin, financier Ben Navarro, steel company CEO Alan Kestenbaum and hedge fund manager David Tepper.

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Bloomberg also indicated that North Carolina billionaire Jim Goodnight, CEO of SAS Institute Inc., may be interested.

Curry grew up in Charlotte — where his dad, Dell Curry, played for the Charlotte Hornets — and starred at Charlotte Christian School and Davidson before going pro.

Stephen Curry returned from a six-game absence nursing an injured right ankle only to go down again Friday night. This time, it's his left knee. Jeff Chiu AP Photo

A new injury

Curry was back in action Friday night against the Hawks after tweaking an ankle and missing six games. Curry led the Warriors to a 106-94 win with a game-high 29 points but ended up leaving with about three minutes left in the third quarter after spraining his knee.

Curry sprained his medial collateral ligament and was scheduled for an MRI on Saturday, the Warriors said.

Curry grimaced as he hopped to the bench after JaVale McGee fell over and the center's right elbow appeared to pound into Curry's left knee. The two-time MVP immediately sat in a chair and put his head down before going into the locker room.

"Kind of a strange, cruel twist of fate," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "He rehabs his ankle for the last couple weeks, he gets that strong and then the knee goes. So we'll see what happens and we'll keep our fingers crossed."

The NBA star also celebrated his wife's birthday on Friday. The celebration included this Instagram post with Ayesha Curry.

The Currys, who married in 2011, are expecting their third child.