26 Aug

Donald Sterling agrees to sell Los Angeles Clippers, drop NBA lawsuit

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Marking another drama-filled day for Los Angeles Clippers fans, owner Donald Sterling on Wednesday agreed to sell the franchise and drop his lawsuit against the NBA.Sterling’s attorney Maxwell Blecher said in an email that Sterling reached an agreement with his wife, Shelly Sterling, to sell the franchise to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.Donald Sterling’s apparent change of heart comes just days after he filed a $1 billion lawsuit against the NBA, challenging the league’s demand that he sell the basketball team he’s owned since 1981 after disparaging remarks he made about African-Americans were made public.Representatives for Shelly Sterling and Ballmer declined comment Wednesday. As of late Wednesday, Donald Sterling’s lawsuit against the NBA had yet to be withdrawn, according to online court documents.If Donald Sterling indeed drops his lawsuit and sells the team, the move would be unusual for the 80-year-old billionaire, who has a lengthy history of court battles, said Cari Grieb, an adjunct professor of law at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago.“He usually litigates until the end,” Grieb said. “Until at least there is some sort of settlement.”Still, a sale would end the drama sparked by the April release of audio capturing Donald Sterling’s racist remarks, in which he told a female companion he didn’t like her bringing black people to games. The comments prompted the NBA to fine Donald Sterling $2.5 million and begin proceedings to oust him from the league and initiate a sale of the Clippers.The NBA’s action also prompted Shelly Sterling to quickly find a buyer for the team, to avoid the forced sale. Last week, the NBA tentatively approved Shelly Sterling’s pick of Ballmer to own the franchise after the Seattle-based former executive bid $2 billion. The NBA must still approve the deal, a move expected by the end of July.center_img As part of the agreement between Ballmer and Shelly Sterling, the NBA last week said it was withdrawing its pending charge to terminate the Sterlings’ ownership of the team. Shelly Sterling also moved to indemnify the league against any lawsuits, including those brought by her husband.Despite Blecher’s statement Wednesday that Donald Sterling would drop his lawsuit, the real estate magnate has given conflicting statements to the media over the last month.Weeks after the scandal broke, Donald Sterling reportedly signed a document allowing Shelly Sterling to sell the team. Then, last week he apparently changed his mind, and filed a lawsuit against the NBA. Attending a charity event Tuesday night, Donald Sterling told KNBC (Channel 4) that he was ready to “move on.”“I feel fabulous, I feel very good,” Sterling said. “Everything is just the way it should be, really. It may have worked out differently, but it’s good.”The Sterlings were under increasing public pressure to sell the team. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti called for a “clean break” from the Sterlings, while Clippers coach Doc Rivers said last month that it would be “a very hard situation” if Shelly Sterling retained an ownership role going forward.Shelly Sterling ultimately pushed for a quick sale because “she didn’t want to tear the city apart, tear the fan base apart, and tear the Clippers apart,” her best friend, Kathrine Baumann, said in an interview with the Daily News this week.Baumann, who said that the Sterlings’ grandchildren were heckled at school after the Donald Sterling audiotape surfaced, praised her friend’s handling of the sale. “She put this together and delivered it in a neat package to the NBA,” Baumann said.Since the scandal broke, Donald Sterling’s legal moves have been “confusing,” Grieb said. But he is selling now for financial reasons, she surmised.“There comes a point in time when you think, ‘Do you want to keep fighting and incur more legal fees or do you want $2 billion?’” Grieb said.last_img

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