Agrees To Clippers Sale, Will Drop NBA Lawsuit
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[June 05, 2014]
By Eric Kelsey
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Embattled Los
Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has agreed to sell the team for
$2 billion and will drop his lawsuit against the National Basketball
Association, his lawyer Maxwell Blecher said on Wednesday, five weeks
after taped racist remarks Sterling made caused the NBA to ban him for
Sterling, 80, sued the league and commissioner Adam Silver for at
least $1 billion in damages last week at the same time as the NBA
tentatively approved a deal his estranged wife had struck to sell
the franchise to former Microsoft Corp chief executive Steve Ballmer
for an NBA record price of $2 billion.
Sterling, who has owned the Clippers for 33 years, brought shame on
the league and delivered the first crisis of Silver's tenure, which
began in February.
Silver banished Sterling and fined him $2.5 million for the comments
after the taped racist remarks were leaked to the media in April
while the Clippers were playing in the NBA playoffs.
The comments caused sponsors to sever ties with the team and players
considered a boycott.
Sterling has said that his remarks to a "lover" about not being
photographed with black people or bringing them to Clippers games
were a part of a jealous quarrel that was illegally recorded under
Most of the players in the NBA are black.
In the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, Sterling
accuses the NBA and Silver of breach of contract, antitrust
violations, among others.
The NBA and Sterling's wife, Shelly Sterling, agreed last week at
the time the lawsuit was filed that neither she nor the trust that
owns the team would sue the league.
The lawsuit was filed at the same time as the NBA tentatively agreed
to the Clippers sale and as part of the deal, wife Shelly Sterling
agreed that neither she nor the trust that owns the team would sue
Sterling, who co-owns the team with Shelly Sterling, also listed the
Sterling Family Trust as a plaintiff in the suit against the NBA.
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As a result of the sale to Ballmer, the league also canceled a
hearing scheduled for Tuesday that would have asked NBA owners to
terminate Sterling's ownership.
Shelly Sterling is now sole trustee of the family trust that
controls the Clippers after physicians last month deemed that her
husband has Alzheimer's disease.
Blecher at the time said Sterling was diagnosed with a "modest
NBA owners must still give the Clippers sale final approval.
Ballmer, who retired from the Seattle-based software company in
February, outbid two groups for the team, one led by media mogul
David Geffen that included Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and TV
personality Oprah Winfrey.
(Editing by Sandra Maler)
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