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Donald Sterling can’t spell ‘world’ backward and other reasons he lost control of the Clippers

Jun 12, 2014, 11:07 AM EDT

Donald Sterling, V. Stiviano Donald Sterling, V. Stiviano

Shelly Sterling has taken to the courts, trying to prove she has the right to sell the Clippers.

To do so, she must validate the finding that Donald Sterling is not mentally equipped to control the Sterling Family Trust. That finding was based on a series of tests Donald took. Among other issues, he couldn’t:

  • Spell “world” backward
  • Count down from 100 by 7s past 93
  • Name the season
  • Draw a clock

Dan Woike of The Orange County Register has a copy of the doctor’s report:

Here’s an example of the type of test Sterling took.

I’m no neurological expert, but I don’t understand how reliable the mental-faculties test Sterling took is for someone like him. He’s a billionaire! Like he ever needed to know what a clock looked like? He’s also an Angelino. Do they even have seasons?

Sterling has always been at least somewhat detached from reality, and a baseline test could have been useful.

It’s obviously too late for that, though.

It’s not too late for more testing.

Sterling might have dementia. I have no idea. But an examination should probably be conducted by a doctor that wasn’t recommended by Shelly.

However, without knowing the terms of the trust agreement, it’s fully possible Donald signed off when the trust was formed on this being an acceptable test. If he did, he set himself up to lose control.

The doctor wrote, “Mr. Donald T. Sterling is unable to reasonably carry out the duties as Trustee of The Sterling Family Trust as a result of, an impairment in his level attention, information processing, short term memory impairment and ability to modulate mood, emotional liability, and is at risk of making potentially serious errors of judgment.”

Sterling is moody, emotional and prone to errors in judgment? It’s a miracle he didn’t lose control of the trust 30 years ago.

  1. blueintown - Jun 12, 2014 at 11:28 AM

    Isn’t publishing that doctors report for the public super, super illegal?

    • sixerstrong - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:00 PM

      Seriously. What is going on? How can so many people be so comfortable with the blatant violation of privacy going on through this entire episode? He may be a vile human being, but he’s entitled to his privacy just like the rest of us. Especially when it comes to medical records.

    • loubearkane - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:23 PM

      Next thing they’ll do is tape record his private conversations

    • reesesteel23 - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:23 PM

      I imagine if Shelly agrees to make it public, then its okay? ..Dunno

    • limonadamas - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:27 PM

      This is a legal document, not Sterling’s medical record. Medical records are protected under HIPAA. Legal documents are not.

      • sabatimus - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:29 PM

        Oop. My bad.

      • blueintown - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:40 PM

        Sounds legit, limon. And this is the internet so it must be true. Thank you kindly.

    • trevor123698 - Jun 12, 2014 at 6:17 PM

      its part of a court record now

  2. sabatimus - Jun 12, 2014 at 11:30 AM

    If this document is ruled valid for usage in the court fight against Donald by his ex-wife, could the same document be used in court by the NBA to attempt to get Donald’s $1B suit thrown out?

  3. floreskins - Jun 12, 2014 at 11:31 AM

    The doctor (or Shelly Sterling’s lawyer) couldn’t spell the word “word” front-ways, so what does that say about him?

    • sabatimus - Jun 12, 2014 at 11:34 AM

      Just noticed that. Excellent point.

  4. campcouch - Jun 12, 2014 at 11:49 AM

    it’s sad that being offended gives people the belief that it’s ok to walk on a person’s rights. even murderers are afforded rights before,during and after trial,while incarcerated and even during execution. but he says something disagreeable and it’s perfectly fine to deny him of his. I hope he does win in court. I want to see how the NBA deals with it. I want to see them attempt to invalidate the player contracts or the players refuse to play. how will they deal with a dead team? forfeit all 82 Clipper’s games? I was ready to let him go,but now,i want to see billionaires battle it out over the fate of millionaires.

    • blueintown - Jun 12, 2014 at 11:59 AM

      What rights of his have been violated?

      • loubearkane - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:25 PM

        Well if they want to use the Alzheimer’s angle then he could use it and say see no idea what i was saying , thought it was 1960’s Chicago. Medical records being leaked and recording someone with out them knowing ( I know she says he knew)

      • CJ - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:27 PM

        well, for one, HIPPA.

      • blueintown - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:44 PM

        That’s what I thought too, CJ. But limon is right above. It’s a legal doc, not a medical one.

        Source: the interwebs.

  5. azarkhan - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:00 PM

    The writers on this blog can’t spell at all, let alone backwards.

  6. limonadamas - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:26 PM

    This type of mental status exam is fairly standard in neurology. People who have dementia aren’t able to do these kinds of tasks well, even if they seem ridiculous to the rest of us. I see nothing atypical here with how they came to the conclusion Sterling is incapacitated. The brain imaging results are consistent with this as well.

  7. hwatt - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:44 PM

    im too lazy to spell things backwards, and count backwards by 7s too. good thing I’m not in a lawsuit. the report is a bit of a stretch. NBA shoulda just kicked him out June 3rd. now we got weeks of more circus to go through.

    • hwatt - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:45 PM

      ROFL i guarantee you he wasn’t taking those tests seriously. If I’m a billionaire getting anything and everything I want then why would I care to do stupid stuff like that. He probably would have if he would have known it would be used against him to take his team away

  8. calicokiller49 - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:50 PM

    lets just see how much we can ridicule, belittle, humiliate, and just all around ruin this guys life. ….racists calling people racist, the new witch hunt.

  9. hryanana - Jun 12, 2014 at 1:06 PM

    Did anyone else notice the physicians misspell!?!!? They just made me not feel so poorly for PBT writers ahahhahaha

  10. harshedmellow - Jun 12, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    I had to take similar tests as part of a cognitive testing/rehab regime after a brain injury. It’s actually pretty amazing how precisely they can test for, and identify, very specific cognitive processes.

    For a person to have rights or property taken away by the State due to cognitive impairment is a slippery slope and requires a fairly high legal bar. However, it’s important to note that this in not what is happening here. This is essentially an “internal” document- internal to the workings of a corporation, and signed by Mr. Sterling. As such this is really just a battle over the validity of the document, and the validity of the cognitive testing and subsequent conclusions by the doctor(s).

    I expect he’ll need to do better, much better, on similar tests with a different doctor. It may not matter. You can’t fake this stuff; the tests are pretty darn rigorous.

  11. bostonfrogs - Jun 12, 2014 at 1:20 PM

    HIPPA and Twitter: a combination that goes together like beer nuts and chewing gum.

  12. sellahh - Jun 12, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    I bet half the people posting here can’t tell the difference between ‘their’ and ‘there’.

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 12, 2014 at 3:06 PM

      And “they’re”

      And to and too.

      And your and you’re.

      It’s scare listening to many as they talk with their friends and family while you see people out and about…

      People don’t seem to care about things. In restaurants I hear things from people that I have guessed were decent and they say to the person they’re with… “when I was in rehab”, “I’ve only been in jail twice”,

      A teen girl was talking with her girlfriend a few days ago in a restaurant and a male employee of the place began “hitting” on her (trying to go out with her) and she said that her boyfriend could beat him up. Her girlfriend said it would be difficult as he’s in jail. The girl said yeah, for murder. Then she corrected herself and said he’s in jail for complicity to commit murder, for real (can’t forget to include the “for real” part for you good people).

      On top of all of that, she was bobbing around as she said this and when she did say it, it was like she was PROUD of it.

      America is great, but so many are doing their best to drag it down…

  13. McFaddensPulledHammy - Jun 12, 2014 at 1:22 PM

    Can’t wait for Donald’s lawyer to release his physician’s Certification of Trustee Capacity that says Mr. Sterling spelled Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious backwards, calculated 5*6*4*20/5*523 all in his head, and remembered exactly what he was doing at 10:30AM on August 18, 1987.

  14. therealdave123 - Jun 12, 2014 at 1:47 PM

    Is it just me or does it say “spell the world World backwards”?

  15. rrhoe - Jun 12, 2014 at 2:12 PM

    It’s no different that a cop asking you to say the alphabets backwards for a sobriety test,the funny part was I was sober and couldn’t do it.

  16. mcmystery76 - Jun 12, 2014 at 3:43 PM

    PR-wise, Sterling has every incentive to perform as poorly as possible on this test. If you were in his position, would you rather be viewed as a bigot, or a mentally incapacitated old man?

  17. asimonetti88 - Jun 12, 2014 at 3:55 PM

    “He’s also an Angelino. Do they even have seasons?”

    Yes, we have rainy season, fire season and tourist/kook season (better known as summer).

    • mackcarrington - Jun 12, 2014 at 7:41 PM

      I find it interesting that you link tourists with being a kook, So when you go somewhere on vacation are you also a kook?

      • asimonetti88 - Jun 13, 2014 at 10:43 AM


    • Ferdinand - Jun 12, 2014 at 8:25 PM

      I thought LA seasons were Mud, Fire, Earthquake and Implant

      • brookwell2013 - Jun 12, 2014 at 10:33 PM

        And pestilence, we had horrible little flies here a few decades ago, gazillions of them….really, we did. So…..we have floods, fires, earthquakes and pestilence….and Donald Sterling. Yup.

  18. Ferdinand - Jun 12, 2014 at 8:23 PM

    Hate to defend Bigotron – but whoever counts by 7s, frontwards or backwards? I could do it but not without having to stop periodically to do the subtraction on my head – and I am under 40, sane, and sober.

    Not being able to place the numbers on a clock though, that is inexcusable.

    • dedalus13 - Jun 13, 2014 at 1:58 AM

      ummm, I guess many many people can perform serial 7’s (or any digit if that matters) in a fluid and smooth manner. Which doesn’t mean that everybody can. The point is you could expect that a highly educated indivdual like Sterling could do it. Like most of the small tests he failed that day. Which is why doctors think he is “impaired” enough not to be reasonably able to “conduct his duties”.

      PS: It’s amazing how people try to defend themselves if they can’t suceed in any of the tests cited in the post.

    • anotheryx - Jun 13, 2014 at 11:38 AM

      Sounds like you failed 2nd grade math.

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