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Report: Donald Sterling shopping for law firm to help him sue NBA

May 5, 2014, 7:56 PM EDT

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Donald Sterling uses the courts to bully. He’s not afraid to litigate, he’s not afraid to bury people in paper and think it’s not worth the fight/money so they back off. It has worked more often than not for him.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver stood at the podium and suspended Sterling from the NBA for life and saying he would push to force a sale of the team, all the while sounding like a guy ready for a fight.

TMZ says Sterling is gearing up for the fight (hat tip to SI’s The Point Forward).

Donald Sterling is on the hunt to hire a major L.A. law firm to sue the NBA for suspending him and attempting to strip him of ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers … TMZ Sports has learned.

Sources familiar with the situation tell us … Sterling’s people were in touch with several law firms last week, including the powerhouse firm Glaser Weil. Patty Glaser is one of the top litigators in the country and has repped scores of celebs, including Conan O’Brien and Keith Olbermann…. We’ve also learned Sterling’s people have been in touch with the mega-law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan, a 650-member law firm specializing in business litigation.

The argument, made in federal court, would be that the NBA is violating its own constitution, as Sterling has run his business professionally and not gambled on the game. The league will counter that it has cause because Sterling was bad for business (the players were ready to boycott games and sponsors did pull out). There is no “morals” clause but there are business ethics and other clauses. How solid the footing is for the league depends on what lawyer you ask, Sec. 13 of the constitution is vague enough that Sterling can fight it.

He will want to see if the NBA and Silver have the stomach for an ugly fight (David Stern did not in the past). There will injunctions, and he will drag it out. Complicating matters is Sterling’s wife Shelly owns half the team. (For capital gains tax reasons Sterling will fight for a transfer to a family member as well.)

You can note that Sterling is battling cancer and might at this point just want to walk away. But that’s not who he is as a person. As long as he can, he will fight.

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