Donald Sterling was banned for life by the National Basketball Association a few months ago ober his racist remarks that were caught on a leaked record.
About two weekd ago the billionaire sued the league and its commissioner, Adam Silver, seeking at least $1 billion in damages, just as the NBA approved a deal by his wife, co-owner of the club, to sell the franchise for $2 billion to former Microsoft Corp chief executive Steve Ballmer.
Besides the lifetime ban, Silver also fined Sterling $2.5 million, the league’s maximum penalty.
Sterling’s attorney, Maxwell Blecher, told reporters that his client had decided to withdraw his support of the Clippers sale and that he will press ahead with his lawsuit.
“From the onset, I did not want to sell the Los Angeles Clippers. I have worked for 33 years to build the team … I intend to fight to keep the team,” the 80-year-old Sterling said on Monday.
The billionaire also admitted that he was extremely sorry for the hurtful comments he made in private talk, and that they were made in anger and jealousy.
However, he said he believed Silver “acted in haste by illegally ordering the forced sale of the Clippers,” banning him for life, and imposing the fine.
“The action taken by Adam Silver and the NBA constitutes a violation of my rights and flies in the face of the freedoms that are afforded to all Americans,” Sterling said.
“I have decided that I must fight to protect my rights. While my position may not be popular, I believe that my rights to privacy and the preservation of my rights to due process should not be trampled.”
Steve Ballmer, who stepped down as Microsoft Inc CEO last year, intended to purchase the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers franchise for $2 billion, a record price tag for acquiring a professional basketball team.
In a news release from Greenberg Glusker, sole trustee Shelly Sterling revealed to reporters that she had signed a contract to sell Clippers to Ballmer on behalf of the The Sterling Family Trust, which owns the club.
“I am delighted that we are selling the team to Steve, who will be a terrific owner. We have worked for 33 years to build the Clippers into a premiere NBA franchise. I am confident that Steve will take the team to new levels of success.”
The deal is now scheduled for approval of the National Basketball Association’s Board of Governors before it is finalized. The NBA wasn’t available for comments.
“I will be honored to have my name submitted to the NBA Board of Governors for approval as the next owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. I love basketball,” the new owner of the Los Angeles team claimed in a statement. “And I intend to do everything in my power to ensure that the Clippers continue to win – and win big – in Los Angeles.”