LOS ANGELES — Embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling lost his attempt to block the $2 billion sale of the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
In allowing the deal to go forward, Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas sided Monday with Sterling’s estranged wife, Shelly Sterling, who negotiated the record sale after the NBA banned the 80-year-old billionaire for making offensive remarks about blacks.
Shelly Sterling sought the probate judge’s approval to ink the deal after taking away her husband’s control of the family trust that owned the team because doctors found he had signs of Alzheimer’s disease and couldn’t manage his affairs.
The judge said Shelly Sterling had negotiated a good deal and that her removal of her husband as a co-trustee was in good faith and not part of a secret plan to seize the team.
Shelly Sterling hugged her lawyer and wept after the judge explained his ruling from the bench.
“I can’t believe it’s over,” she said. “This is the best thing.”
An unusual provision of the ruling bars Donald Sterling from seeking a court-ordered delay of the sale as he appeals. His lawyers plan to seek permission from an appellate court to file an appeal.
Sterling was not in court for the ruling. Bobby Samini, one of his lawyers, said Sterling reacted calmly to the news and told his lawyers they had to keep battling on other fronts. Sterling testified during the case that he would fight the NBA until his death.
With lawsuits pending in state and federal courts, the ruling in Los Angeles County Superior Court is unlikely to put an end to the bizarre saga that began in April when a recording surfaced of Sterling scolding his young girlfriend for bringing black men to Clippers games.
LeBron James’ Ohio hometown says fans quickly claimed the thousands of tickets available for the homecoming event expected to be his first public appearance in the state since announcing his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The free tickets for the Aug. 8 show at InfoCision Stadium in Akron were released Monday and were gone within hours.
- The Timberwolves and Mo Williams have agreed to a $3.75 million, one-year contract, the player’s agency, Priority Sports, announced on Monday. The agreement gives the Timberwolves an experienced and versatile combo guard to play behind Ricky Rubio.
- Williams turns 32 in December and is coming off a season in Portland in which he averaged 9.7 points per game for his lowest output since his rookie year in 2003-04. But his ability to shoot — he is a career 38.5 percent shooter from three-point range — and handle the ball made him an attractive targets.
- Derrick Rose’s rigorous play on Monday during the U.S. basketball team’s first practice in Las Vegas impressed Coach Mike Krzyzewski. The 25-year-old point guard from the Chicago Bulls star is coming off two knee injuries that kept him out for much of the last two seasons. He played roughly nine minutes of the team’s scrimmage during a two-hour practice. He added he was excited about how he felt physically.