Donald Sterling’s forced sale of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers, and Sterling’s subsequent threatened lawsuit against the league for its actions, may be finally, thankfully over.
ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and other media sources report that Sterling has agreed to drop his lawsuit against the league and acquiesce to the sale of the team. In late May, the team announced that former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer had agreed to pay $2 billion for the franchise.
According to Sterling attorney Max Blecher, the agreement to drop the lawsuit against the NBA is part of a larger agreement through which the NBA will not sue him in return.
Donald Sterling’s estranged wife Shelly arranged for the team’s sale without much help from her husband. She owned 50 percent of the team, and she also controlled Donald Sterling’s trust following a recent neurological assessment that her husband had dementia. Ballmer, and others looking to buy the team, negotiated with her directly.
However, Donald Sterling was not prepared to go down quietly. On May 30, he sued the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver for $1 billion in damages resulting from the forced sale of the team. The lawsuit claimed that the league “violated Sterling’s constitutional rights by relying on information from an illegal recording that publicized racist remarks he made to a girlfriend. It also says the league committed a breach of contract by fining Sterling 2.5 million [dollars] and that it violated antitrust laws by forcing a sale.”
Another of Sterling’s lawyers, Bobby Samini, also told the Associated Press in response to Shelly Sterling’s actions, “The assertion that Donald Sterling lacks mental capacity is absurd.”
With the lawsuit dropped, very few obstacles stand in the way of Steve Ballmer becoming the next owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. The NBA’s Board of Governors will soon vote whether to accept Ballmer’s bid.
For more on IC’s ongoing coverage of the Sterling story, check out these articles: