UNITED STATESâ€”A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has ruled that Shelly Sterling, the wife of NBA Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling can sell the team. The judge made the ruling on July 28, giving Shelly the authority to sell the team to Microsoft billionaire Steve Ballmer who is interested in purchasing the team for more than $2 billion.
Shelly had her husband, Donald, removed from the family trust to allow her to sell the team. Donald was banned from the NBA for life, after racist comments he made were leaked. He was also fined $2.5 million by the organization for his behavior.
During a press conference on Monday, Shelly stated, â€œWe just tried to do the best thing for our family and everyone else. I think we have the best new owner that anybody could ever find and I think it will be even better than what it was before.â€
Bobby Samini, attorney for Donald Sterling stated, â€œThis is one stage of a long war, this is one battle and we hoped for a different result, but this is not the end.â€
Pierce Oâ€™Donnell, lawyer for Shelly Sterling released the following statement, â€œWe owe her a great debt of gratitude. She had the courage to stand up against her husband, take control of the Clippers, negotiate a record-shattering $2 billion price and go to court to pressure the sale of the team. Upon hearing the verdict in court today, Shelly broke down in tears because she is overjoyed about the outcome.
She is happy to hand this team over to an extraordinary new owner in Steve Ballmer. She is happy for Doc Rivers, the players, the fans, the NBA and the sponsors. This is a precedent-setting decision. It’s a new day in Los Angeles for the Clippers. In so many ways, it’s a classic Hollywood ending.â€
Donaldâ€™s racist rant was captured on audio tape by his alleged mistress V. Stiviano back in May, which led to a firestorm of national news, asking many fans to boycott the team and to not attend games until Mr. Sterling was removed from the team. The scandal sparked an outpouring of support for the Clippers who were in the midst of the playoff season. Donald was upset with Stiviano after he saw photos of her with Magic Johnson attending Clippers games posted on social media.
According to reports, Stiviano acknowledged that Donald was aware that he was being recorded during their conversations. Since the incident Sterling has appeared on multiple media outlets apologizing for his derogatory comments.