This may be the first time in the history of the world that someone messes up and is “punished” with a 1.885 billion dollar windfall regarding the LA Clippers.
But that is exactly what occurred as a result of Donald Sterling’s racist rants resulting in the Sterling Family Trust sale of the LA Clippers.
Steve Ballmer bought the Clippers for $2 billion after Sterling’s original purchase price was $12.5 million in 1981.
I already subtracted the $2.5 million fine that the NBA imposed on Sterling in the final tally although it appears he may fight the whole deal in court.
Mr. Sterling will have to share this tidy profit with estranged wife, Rochelle (Shelly) who was instrumental in negotiating the agreement. However one wonders if talks were even held before Ballmer pony upped a tenth of his total net worth of around $20 billion to buy a toy.
Ballmer had made previous attempts to buy the Minnesota Timberwolves and Sacramento Kings with the intent on moving them to his beloved Seattle where he accrued his fortune as CEO of Microsoft Corp. from the year 2000 to February of this year.
In the meantime, Ballmer has made it clear the Clippers would remain in “Tinsel Town”.
The Donald Sterling fallout began when his mistress V. Stiviano released an audio tape where the Clippers owner is heard requesting that Miss Stiviano restrain from inviting black guests to accompany her to the Staples Center for Clippers games. He was apparently especially upset with her association with NBA legend Magic Johnson.
Johnson, of course, immediately condemned the remarks as did other former pro hoop stars such as TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal. Ex Cavs and Suns point guard, Kevin Johnson also joined the fray who now just happens to be the mayor of Sacramento and was primarily responsible for blocking Ballmer’s bid to buy the Kings.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver wasted no time in coming down with a decision that banned Donald Sterling from the league for life, assessed the aforementioned $2.5 million fine and suggested the other team owners force the sale of the team as prescribed by the groups constitution.
It was perhaps the worst kept secret in the NBA that Sterling had at least racist tendencies even as he employed mostly black athletes and had been previously feted by the Los Angeles NAACP.
He was charged twice (in 2003 and 2006) with housing discrimination regarding properties he owned when he resisted renting to blacks and Hispanics in favor of his preference to Koreans.
On Friday (5/30) it was announced that Donald Sterling was suing the NBA for $1 billion.
His suit charges the league and Commissioner Silver with breach of contract and violating his constitutional rights with the $2.5 million fine and lifetime ban. It also, in essence, seeks to block what Sterling considers the forced sale of the team.
At the same time, the 80 year old Sterling’s mental capacity is being questioned which just adds another aspect to this Hollywood drama.
Since 2008 when the Seattle Sonics were purchased and moved to Oklahoma, Steve Balmer has wanted to bring an NBA team back to Seattle as an NBA Owner.
With the sale of the LA Clippers to Balmer for this record breaking amount and Balmers deep rooted ties to Seattle I’m willing to say that eventually, the Clippers will become the Seattle Sonics!
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