We’ve watched this story run in patterns for almost the entire summer — after racist recordings surfaced during last year’s playoffs, Clippers owner Donald Sterling was voted out by the other NBA owners, and was being forced to sell the team. Depending on the last time you checked, Sterling was either selling the team, suing his wife to stop her from selling the team, allowing his wife to sell the team, or getting ready to drop the lawsuits and sell the team. Only, the lawsuits never seemed to actually get dropped, and instead they just kept adding up.
Ultimately, Sterling’s wife, Shelly, was able to sell the team through the Sterling Family Trust, legally overriding Donald’s objections on the basis of his alleged Alzheimer’s. After losing the preliminary hearing, Sterling and his lawyers brought an objection to the presiding judge, who overruled the objection and gave his final statement, saying that the team could be sold by Shelly Sterling — and it’s done. The deed is did. Steve Ballmer officially owns the Los Angeles Clippers. Donald Sterling does not. The yuckiest thing about the whole process is that Shelly Sterling is, officially, the “Clippers number one fan” and “owner emeritus.”
While those perks seem a little disingenuous, since there’s some substantial evidence that she’s also a fairly unsavory person — that’s a fine price to pay if we never have to talk about Sterling again. Ballmer would have to try really, really hard to out-awful the team’s previous owner, so fans can take some solace in this exchange, even if Sterling did walk away from this debacle with a $2 billion profit.
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