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Donald Sterling’s lawyer says client “far from mentally incompetent”

May 30, 2014, 2:13 PM EDT

Donald Sterling Donald Sterling

If you can only be sure of three things they should be death, taxes, and that Donald Sterling was going to fight the idea that he was mentally incapacitated (and the sale of “his” Clippers to Steve Ballmer).

Donald’s wife Shelly, who owns half of the Clippers through the Sterling Family Trust, reportedly had Donald declared mentally incapacitated under the terms of the trust (which had contingencies for such things). With that done she reached an agreement to sell the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion. The league has been informed of the sale and is awaiting the paperwork.

Donald Sterling will fight it all, that’s how he’s wired, starting with the suggestion he is mentally incapacitated. Ramona Shelburne of ESPN received and email from Donald Sterling’s attorney.

Notice he says “incompetent” as opposed to her attorney’s wording of “incapacitated,” arguing over the minutia of those kinds of definitions and how it applies to a broader document is what lawyers do. Whether or not Donald Sterling is by definition incapacitated depends on the terms in the trust, plus what was found on the neurological exams. We cannot judge Sterling’s mental state from the edited snippets of the CNN interview with Anderson Cooper we saw. There have been reports Sterling was suffering from some form of dementia (as well as prostate cancer) but the only evidence is with the doctors (who are the only people qualified to judge the evidence).

Whether what Shelly Sterling did will hold up in court remains to be seen.

Which is why the league has said it is awaiting all the details and paperwork of the sale to Ballmer and for now is still moving ahead with plans for a June 3 Board of Governors meeting on the issue. At that meeting other 29 NBA owners would conduct a hearing then vote on whether to strip Sterling of his ownership of the franchise in response to the backlash that followed his prejudiced comments on a recording released to TMZ, plus later in a CNN interview. The NBA has filed official charges against Donald Sterling, as required by its constitution, and he has responded through his attorney.

Bottom line: This is all headed to the courts. As expected. But know that sources say the NBA worked with Shelly Sterling to make sure all her ducks were in a row on this — the league would prefer the voluntary sale to them taking over the team.

  1. redbaronx - May 30, 2014 at 2:31 PM

    Sterling can barely put two coherent, logical sentences together as seen on TV and his lawyer really thinks anything he says is going to convince the world that Sterling is still in control of his mental facilities? Good luck with that!

  2. 4thquartermagic - May 30, 2014 at 2:38 PM

    The good thing about being a billionaire is that you can always pay someone to tell you what you want to hear.

    • loubearkane - May 30, 2014 at 2:45 PM

      Like “Yeah Donald that V Stiavano is an attractive lady”

  3. imnotyourbuddyguy - May 30, 2014 at 3:01 PM

    I doubt Donald can roll over, once he’s on his back he’s most likely stuck there

    • muathjam21 - May 30, 2014 at 3:17 PM

      Correct. That Stiviano gold digger used to roll him off the bed with a paddle.

  4. bobmcbigballs - May 30, 2014 at 4:59 PM

    Every time I see a Donald Sterling article I think the same thing…that poor pink shirt

  5. saint1997 - May 30, 2014 at 5:43 PM

    If he’s mentally incompetent wouldn’t that also make his comments not as bad as he wasn’t in the right state of mind? I don’t understand that double standard

    • TheMorningStar - May 30, 2014 at 7:29 PM

      Even in a wrong state of mind, who thinks of the things he said?? Plus, given the documented instances of his racial discrimination, he certainly harbored those feelings prior to his comments.

      Sorry, there is zero double standard in this case.

      • saint1997 - May 31, 2014 at 9:53 PM

        Yeh the prior accusations would be the only thing mitigating against him, but you would have to acknowledge that in this case if you say he is mentally incapacitated then you naturally can’t hold him as accountable for his statements. It’s ignorant to say ‘in a wrong state of mind, who thinks of the things he said?’ because the whole point of being in that state of mind is one cannot delineate between what is morally right and what is morally wrong. I am by no means defending the statements of Mr Sterling, just raising a factual inconsistency.

      • TheMorningStar - Jun 1, 2014 at 6:07 PM

        No one, regardless of their mental capacity, makes comments like that out of the blue. There had to have been prior actions that suggested he had the inclination to think like that.

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