TIME Basketball

Judge Rules Against Donald Sterling’s Move to Block Clippers Sale

Donald Sterling
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling watches the Clippers play the Los Angeles Lakers during an NBA preseason basketball game in Los Angeles on Dec. 19, 2011. Danny Moloshok—AP

Clippers sale to continue

A judge has ruled against Donald Sterling’s attempt to block the $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

Judge Michael Levanas sided with Donald Sterling’s estranged wife, Shelly Sterling, who negotiated the deal and pursued the court’s approval of the sale, after the NBA fined her husband $2.5 million and banned him from the sport for life for making racist comments, the Associated Press reports.

Shelly Sterling also removed her husband from the family trust following two doctors’ opinions that he had Alzheimer’s disease and was unfit to make legal decisions. Donald Sterling claims he was manipulated and “blindsided” by the medical evaluations and had another doctor attest to his mental competency. He is expected to continue to fight the sale, as he has previously vowed.

[AP]

TIME Basketball

Clippers CEO: Doc Rivers Will Quit as Coach if Sterling Stays

NBA: Playoffs-Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers talks during a press conference prior to a game between the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center, in Los Angeles, on April 29, 2014 Kelvin Kuo—USA Today Sports/Reuters

Interim Clippers CEO Richard Parsons described the possible departure of Doc Rivers as "a disaster"

Doc Rivers, coach of the L.A. Clippers, will leave if Donald Sterling remains owner, according to interim Clippers CEO Richard Parsons.

Parsons’ comments were made as he testified in a court case that will determine whether Sterling’s estranged wife Shelly Sterling had the right to sell the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.

Donald Sterling faced NBA banishment after he made racist statements in April this year.

“Doc is troubled by this maybe more so than anybody else,” said Parsons. “If Mr. Sterling continues as owner, he does not want to continue as coach.”

Doc Rivers, who has coached the Clippers for just over a year, has been key in trying to sustain calm within the team’s camp.

“If Doc were to leave, that would be a disaster,” said Parsons. “Doc is the father figure, the one who leads.”

In a related development, Donald Sterling filed a new lawsuit on Tuesday against Shelly Sterling and the NBA commissioner Adam Silver. He is seeking damages for their allegedly defrauding him, violating corporate law and attempting to sell the Clippers.

TIME NBA

Donald Sterling and Steve Ballmer Meet for the First Time, Unproductively

A supporter holds a photo cutout of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling while standing in line for the NBA Playoff game 5 between Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center in Los Angeles
A supporter holds a photo cutout of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling while standing in line for the NBA Playoff game 5 between Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center in Los Angeles on April 29, 2014. Mario Anzuoni— Reuters

No progress was made on Ballmer's bid to buy the L.A. Clippers, but ESPN reports it was otherwise a "friendly conversation."

It was a private meeting between two men very recently and very publicly ushered from power: one the erstwhile leader of a once iconic tech company whose stock prices swiftly rebounded upon news of his resignation, the other the former owner of a basketball team whose departure from it only parenthetically had anything to do with basketball (in that his apparently racist vitriol was targeted at, well, people the color of some of his basketball players).

The latter, Donald Sterling, was banned from the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the remainder of his life after TMZ leaked a recording of some comments he made to his girlfriend V. Stiviano, concerning her friendship with black people. He’s consequently in the throes of selling the Los Angeles Clippers to the former, ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who stepped down from the company last year after thirteen tumultuous years at the helm, marked by the surge of the Apple Empire and the ultimate marking of his once-eminent firm as a brand that just wasn’t cool anymore. When all else fails, one supposes, buy a basketball team; Ballmer successfully made a bid of $2 billion to buy the Clippers within a month of the Sterling controversy.

The two men met at Sterling’s Beverly Hills home to negotiate the sale of the Clippers franchise together with Sterling’s wife Shelly. And while the crew reached no definitive settlement, ESPN reports that it was otherwise a perfectly pleasant conversation, considering Sterling’s notorious obstinacy on the matter.

It’s a trickier deal than just writing a check. Two years after Sterling bought the team in 1979, he granted co-ownership rights to Shelly, from whom he has been estranged since December 2012. Donald is banned from the NBA; Shelly is not. The NBA briefly considered snatching all license of ownership from the entire Sterling clan — their son-in-law, Eric Miller, has served as the Clippers’ “director of basketball administration” — but not before Shelly arranged the sale to Ballmer in late May. Donald condemned her actions, and a day later sued the NBA for $1 billion.

He’d drop the suit all of three days later, though he has since called his wife of 59 years a “pig.”

The warring couple met on Sunday to finally discuss business, two days before Shelly was to testify in the civil case between them over whether or not she was justified in her negotiations with Ballmer (she’ll be in court on Tuesday in Los Angeles). After a three hour conversation concerning all the tumult of the last few months — oh, to be a fly on that wall — the two invited Ballmer to come over the next day to further address the matter of the Clippers’ sale, which was supposed to have been finalized a week ago. It’s the first time the two men met in person to talk about the deal.

The NBA, meanwhile, twiddles its thumbs and waits. It’s widely assumed Ballmer will ultimately take the reins from the Sterlings, but if nothing’s certain by September 15, the league has the option to take matters into its own hands and sell the team itself, since the 2014-15 season will begin just six weeks later.

TIME donald sterling

Sterling Says He Won’t Sell Team, Calls Wife a Pig

Donald Sterling denounced his wife, her lawyers and the NBA from the witness stand Wednesday, saying he will never sell the Los Angeles Clippers and vowing a lifetime of lawsuits against the league

+ READ ARTICLE

(LOS ANGELES) — A raging Donald Sterling denounced his wife, her lawyers and the NBA from the witness stand Wednesday, saying he will never sell the Los Angeles Clippers and vowing a lifetime of lawsuits against the league.

“Make no mistake today,” Sterling shouted toward the end of his second day of testimony in the trial to determine his wife’s right to make a $2 billion deal to sell the Clippers, “I will never, ever sell this team, and until I die I will be suing the NBA for this terrible violation under antitrust.”

He was followed to the stand by wife, Shelly, who tried to approach him in the front row of the courtroom after she was done for the day.

“Get away from me, you pig!” Sterling shouted.

The judge then admonished him to make no further comments.

Sterling began his testimony by saying he loved his wife, but then denounced her. He said she told him to have psychiatric and neurological exams only because he had turned 80, and she was concerned for his health.

“She deceived me. I trusted her,” Sterling said. “I never thought a wife wouldn’t stand for her husband.”

Donald Sterling’s lawyers are challenging the authority of Shelly Sterling under the family trust to unilaterally cut a deal for the team with former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

Before she made the deal, two doctors examined Donald Sterling and declared him mentally incapacitated and unable to act as an administrator of the Sterling Family Trust, which owns the Clippers.

Sterling said he was certain his wife had never read the trust documents because it was too complicated for her to understand.

During examination by his own lawyer, Maxwell Blecher, Sterling was asked about his wife’s position in the trust if he were to be disqualified as a trustee.

“She has no rights whatsoever. She has no stock. She has no standing whatsoever,” Sterling said.

He also lashed out at the NBA, saying: “My wife was terrified. She’s frightened to death. She thinks the NBA will take away everything she worked for. She was scared out of her mind.”

The NBA banned Donald Sterling for life and moved to force him to sell the Clippers after a recorded conversation in which he made racist statements came to light earlier this year.

He denied he was a racist from the witness stand when asked Wednesday.

Sterling at times yelled at his own lawyer as well as the lawyer for Shelly Sterling, and threw a paper down on the witness box.

He was followed to the stand by Shelly Sterling, who said she was a 50 percent beneficiary of the family trust.

When asked by her attorney Pierce O’Donnell if she was “separated” from her husband of 58 years, she said “sort of.” But she described herself as his principal caretaker, who takes him to medical appointments, makes sure he takes all of his pills, and is concerned for him.

“Do you love your husband?” O’Donnell asked.

“Yes, I do,” Shelly Sterling said.

But she then told of seeing him in an interview on CNN and becoming frightened at his personality change.

“I couldn’t believe it, and I started crying,” she said. “I felt so bad. I couldn’t believe that was him.”

She said she contacted a neurologist to examine him and later a psychiatrist, thinking initially that he might have had a stroke.

She said she suggested radiological tests or imaging to examine his brain, and was told eventually that he had early signs of Alzheimer’s.

She became slightly tearful as she described her understanding of the disease, which becomes progressively worse.

Her testimony is scheduled to resume Thursday.

NBA owners are scheduled to vote on the Ballmer deal July 15. It’s also the day that Ballmer’s offer is set to expire — and there is no deal without the judge’s approval of the sale.

If the sale isn’t completed by Sept. 15, the league said it could seize the team and put it up for auction.

TIME NBA

Donald Sterling’s Lawyer Says Former Clippers Owner Is Mentally Competent

Donald Sterling
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling watches the Clippers play the Los Angeles Lakers during an NBA preseason basketball game in Los Angeles on Dec. 19, 2011. Danny Moloshok—AP

Sterling's estranged wife begs to differ

The lawyer of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who was banned from the NBA for life in April, said his client is mentally competent, according to a recent medical evaluation.

Maxwell Blecher said Dr. Jeffrey Cummings examined Donald Sterling and found him to be mentally sound, though Sterling does have some impairment common for his age, USA Today reports.

The exam results challenge the opinions of two doctors who found him mentally unfit in examinations that Sterling’s estranged wife Shelly Sterling helped coordinate.

Donald Sterling’s lawyers allege in papers filed Monday that she “blindsided” her husband in facilitating the two doctors’ exams and used the opinions to remove him from the Sterling Family Trust in order to sell the Clippers team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion. Cummings could become a witness in the trial.

“Donald should have been properly informed that the doctors were evaluating his legal capacity for purposes of determining his ability to continue to serve as Co-Trustee of the Sterling Family Trust, a position he had held continuously for many years,” reads the brief.

The lawyers of Shelly Sterling have denied the allegations.

[USA Today]

TIME NBA

Former Intern Sues Los Angeles Clippers, Donald Sterling

Donald Sterling, V. Stiviano
Donald Sterling watches the Clippers play the Los Angeles Lakers during an NBA preseason basketball game in Los Angeles on Dec. 19, 2011 Danny Moloshok—AP

The intern says the team never paid him for his work

A former intern for the Los Angeles Clippers is suing both the team and its owners for allegedly violating labor laws by not paying its interns, according to a federal class action lawsuit filed on Tuesday.

Frank Cooper says the Sterling Family Trust never paid him for the two months of work he did in the fan relations department, the Associated Press reports. Cooper says he worked 40 to 50 hours per week, calling season ticket holders and organizing basketball clinics. Cooper is suing disgraced team owner Donald Sterling and the Clippers organization for back pay, damages and attorney fees, according to the AP.

Sterling is currently embroiled in controversy over racist comments he made that were caught on tape. He has been banned from the NBA, but maintains that he will sue the league before he’s forced to sell the team. Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has agreed to buy the team for $2 billion.

[AP]

TIME Basketball

Sterling’s Surrender Is Gift for the NBA

BASKET NBA RACISM CLIPPERS
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling attends the NBA playoff game between the Clippers and the Golden State Warriors on April 21, 2014 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. ROBYN BECK—AFP/Getty Images

On the eve of the Finals, the disgraced Clippers owner agrees to $2 billion sale of his team, and drops a lawsuit against the league

On April 29, NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced that he was banning Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling from the league for life, thanks to the racist remarks he made in a private conversation that were caught on tape, and broadcast to the world. Silver also said he was terminating Sterling’s ownership of the Clippers, forcing Sterling to sell a team he took so much pride in owning. On that afternoon, right after Silver’s press conference, if I would have told you that the Sterling family would sell the Clippers a little over a month later, for nearly quadruple the previous record price for an NBA franchise, to the former CEO of Microsoft no less, and that Donald, who’s fond of suing people into submission, would drop his outstanding legal claim against the league on the day before the start of the NBA Finals — that the mess would be pretty much over in early June — you would have called me hopelessly naive and even a nutcase. Rightfully so.

The NBA, it turns out, is living in dreamland.

Sterling is saving the league and its fans a massive headache, by agreeing to his wife’s sale of the team to Steve Ballmer for $2 billion, and by dropping the $1 billion anti-trust suit he filed against the NBA last week. Reality must have finally set in for Sterling. Because based on some of the assertions coming out of his camp over the last week, it was becoming clear he had no shot in this fight.

For example, in an interview with CNN last week, Sterling’s attorney Max Blecher made this absurd assertion: “If the NBA would have done what I think they should have done and to say ‘we’re rejecting the use of this illegally used evidence and not violating charges,’ no sponsor would have left in the first place.”

Say what? First of all, sponsors started fleeing the Clippers right after they heard the tape, before Silver used “this illegally used” evidence to issue his punishment for Sterling. The sponsor exodus gave Silver good reason to boot Sterling: under the NBA’s constitution, conduct that has an “adverse affect” on the league’s members can result in termination of ownership. A loss of sponsorship money was a clear, quantitative measure of “adverse affect.”

And second, the thought of sponsors factoring the technicality of California’s recording law into their decisions is laughable. “Oh, so that tape is probably illegal because California requires both parties to consent to being tape-recorded. No problem: we’re sticking with you, Donald Sterling and your racist remarks!” Come on. Sponsors don’t care about these legalities because they know customers don’t care. Under Sterling, people wanted nothing to do with the Clippers — whether the tape was legal or not, his words were loud and clear.

When those kinds of absurd statements are part of your case, you don’t really have a case.

The $1 billion anti-trust suit wasn’t going anywhere either. How can it be credible, when it asserted that a forced sale of the team could result in a lower purchase price than a non-forced sale? The team sold for $2 billion, nearly four times the previous record for an NBA team. Was Sterling supposed to get $4 billion? If anything, the forced sale drove up the price, as big rich names rushed to outbid other big rich names. Ballmer paid a prestige premium to be the savior of the Clippers.

So here we are, the Heat-Spurs rematch tipping off Thursday night, these Finals ripe with anticipation. And we might not hear a peep about Sterling all series. Has any commissioner, of any sports league, ever had a higher approval rating than Adam Silver does today? Not that it’s guaranteed to last: this $2 billion price tag for the Clippers might cause Silver headaches down the road. Because come collective bargaining time, players always use rising franchise values as leverage. If they’re exploding, the players argue, we deserve a larger share.

But these worries can wait: the earliest the players can opt out of the current agreement is 2017. Let Silver enjoy his accolades. And it’s now time to get really excited about the Ballmer era in L.A. As a courtside entertainer/agitator, he might just rival Mark Cuban.

The team’s player development staff must be psyched.

TIME NBA

Sterling Agrees to Sell Clippers

Donald Sterling, V. Stiviano
Donald Sterling watches the Clippers play the Los Angeles Lakers during an NBA preseason basketball game in Los Angeles on Dec. 19, 2011 Danny Moloshok—AP

The disgraced owner of the Los Angeles team has agreed to sell to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion and will drop his $1 billion lawsuit

The disgraced owner of the Los Angeles Clippers Donald Sterling has agreed to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion, reversing his previous promise not to sell.

Sterling is also dropping his $1 billion lawsuit against the NBA filed last week, his attorney Bobby Samini told NBC News.

In an interview with NBC on Tuesday, Sterling said he is ready to “move on.” The 80-year-old drew widespread criticism and was slapped with a $2.5 million fine by the NBA and banned for life after audio recordings surfaced of him making racist comments.

Last week, the NBA canceled a planned hearing on proceedings to oust Sterling from his ownership of the Clippers.

The NBA board of governors must still approve the sale before it is finalized.

[NBC News]

TIME Sports

A Woman Who Says She Is Donald Sterling’s Ex Is Suing Him for Racial and Sexual Abuse

Donald Sterling, V. Stiviano
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, right, and V. Stiviano, left, watch the Clippers play the Los Angeles Lakers during an NBA preseason basketball game in Los Angeles on Monday, Dec. 19, 2011. Danny Moloshok—AP

The disgraced L.A. Clippers owner is alleged to have told her that black people do nothing but "sit at home and smoke dope"

A woman claiming to be the ex-lover of Donald Sterling, the disgraced basketball-team owner who was recently barred from the NBA for life after making racist comments, launched a suit against the 80-year-old on Monday for alleged racial discrimination and sexual harassment.

Maiko Maya King says she faced a “steady stream of racially and sexually offensive comments” both during their claimed relationship from 2005 to 2011 and after, when she was employed by Sterling as a personal assistant and caretaker.

The lawsuit asserts that Sterling made comments about King’s African-American husband, like, “Why would you bring black people into the world?” and “I want to take you out of the black world and put you into the white world.” The former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers also allegedly said, “Black people do not take care of their children. All they do is sit at home and smoke dope.”

King further claims that Sterling “dangled money only if she would have sex with him” and that he would give her bonuses if she could “help him to perform sexually.” When she protested against the harassment on May 7, 2014, he fired her.

The complaint seeks compensatory damages for continued pain, mental suffering and extreme mental anguish.

[THR]

TIME NBA

Donald Sterling Visits Black Church In Los Angeles

The disgraced Los Angeles Clippers owner joined the service after receiving an invitation from a pastor two weeks earlier

+ READ ARTICLE

Two days after filing a $1 billion lawsuit against the NBA, disgraced Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling attended a service in a predominantly black church in south Los Angeles.

Sterling, accompanied by his staff, attended the Sunday worship that emphasized forgiveness and said it was “fabulous.”

“I’m here to support this wonderful group,” Sterling said of Praises of Zion Baptist Church, NBC4 reports. The owner, whose team the NBA is trying to force him to sell, has been under fire ever since a recording emerged of him making racist comments about African-Americans.

Senior pastor J. Benjamin Hardwick told Sterling during the service, “I want my friend to know, we’re praying for you.”

Hardwick added that he did not believe Sterling was a racist.

[NBC4]

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