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It’s official: Steve Ballmer is the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, Donald Sterling out

Aug 12, 2014, 1:23 PM EST

After a judge in California Probate court gave an extraordinary ruling to Shelly Sterling and the Sterling Family Trust a couple of weeks ago confirming her right to sell the Clippers, it was a matter of when not if. Now it is official.

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is officially the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers having purchased the team for a record $2 billion, the league announced Tuesday. The NBA’s Board of Governors — the other 29 owners — had unanimously voted online last week to approve the sale, and that combined with the court order cleared the way for the sale.

For the Clippers this sale removes a cloud over the franchise’s head that could have brought some ugly rain if not resolved before the season started. Instead it’s a sunny day in Southern California for the Clippers.

“I am humbled and honored to be the new owner of the Los Angeles Clippers,” Ballmer said in a released statement. “Clipper fans are so amazing. They have remained fiercely loyal to our franchise through some extraordinary times. I will be hard core in giving the team, our great coach, staff and players the support they need to do their best work on the court. And we will do whatever necessary to provide our fans and their families with the best game-night experience in the NBA.”

“This is an amazing new day in Clippers history,” Clippers President and Head Coach Doc Rivers said in his statement. “I couldn’t be more excited to work together with Steve as we continue to build a first-class, championship organization. I am already inspired by Steve’s passion for the game, his love of competition and desire to win the right way and I know our players and fans are going to be inspired as well.”

Long time Clippers owner Donald Sterling is out.

Despite a history of being arguably the worst owner in professional sports over the past 30 years — running the Clippers poorly with profit the motive over quality basketball, plus embarrassing the league on multiple occasions with his actions and statements — it took TMZ getting ahold of a private conversation taped by a former mistress filled with bigoted comments that pushed the league to make a move. Commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling for life, fined him $2.5 million (which has yet to be paid to the league) and said he would force the sale.

However, Shelly Sterling found a way for the NBA owners not to have to vote out one of their own (a precedent they didn’t want to set) and for her to keep her toe in the waters of the NBA, although not as an official owner. However she will still have seats at the game, help run a related charitable foundation and if they ever win a title she gets a ring.

The Clippers were officially owned by the Sterling Family Trust, as were most of the Sterling assets, which had joint trustees of Shelly and Donald Sterling. However he ran the show. Shelly had Donald interviews and tested by doctors, who determined he had the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and with that she had him removed as one of the trustees of the Trust. That cleared the way for her to sell the team to Ballmer for $2 billion (a sum he admitted was a “beachfront price”). Donald Sterling dissolved the Trust and went to court try to have the judge say that Shelly did not follow the rules of the Trust with the sale and for him to block it.

The judge sided with Shelly and made an extraordinary ruling saying that Sterling didn’t even have the standing to appeal his decision. Sterling tried anyway going to a federal court but that was quickly shot down.

That was enough for Ballmer to feel comfortable and go ahead with the sale.

Donald Sterling still has two lawsuits pending against the NBA — one a $1 billion anti-trust complaint and the other seeking an injunction to block the sale that just happened — those are now just a nuisance. Besides, as part of the sale, Shelly Sterling indemnified the league so that any money Donald Sterling wins in these suits comes out of the Trust and the proceeds of the sale. Sterling is basically suing himself.

Donald Sterling is the past. Steve Ballmer is the future. The Clippers, the fan base, the NBA, basically everybody but one bitter old man is ready to move on.

  1. asimonetti88 - Aug 12, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    will the players get free Zunes now? But seriously… perhaps now that they don’t have a cheapskate owner, they’ll finally be able to upgrade the front office computers from Windows 2000 to Vista.

    • zoomy123 - Aug 12, 2014 at 1:36 PM

      They still have Windows 2000? Windows stopped offering security patches + updates for that OS years ago. SMH. Please Balmer get the guys Win 7, Vista was crap.

      • asimonetti88 - Aug 12, 2014 at 1:45 PM

        It’s a joke pointing fun at the many missteps that Ballmer made as CEO of Microsoft.

        And if you’re going to upgrade an enterprise business, Windows 8 would be the choice.

      • zoomy123 - Aug 12, 2014 at 1:46 PM

        I was also joking. That awkward moment when the person making the second joke isn’t understood…lol.

    • phaden27 - Aug 12, 2014 at 1:58 PM

      I hope the 8 comment was another joke… >.>

      • asimonetti88 - Aug 12, 2014 at 2:12 PM

        No Windows 8 is actually quite good for the enterprise. The 8.1 update fixed a lot of the issues. The other pieces of the Microsoft Business Productivity Suite fit in best with Windows 8. Windows 7 is a good OS but its almost 5 years old now.

      • mackcarrington - Aug 12, 2014 at 4:37 PM

        So I suppose getting Apple computers is out of the question?

    • antistratfordian - Aug 12, 2014 at 2:26 PM

      Zune doesn’t exist anymore.

      • ecnuob51 - Aug 12, 2014 at 2:38 PM

        False. 26 people in the U.S. still have the zune

      • antistratfordian - Aug 12, 2014 at 2:53 PM

        Zune lives!? ZUNE LIVES!!!!

    • phaden27 - Aug 16, 2014 at 12:29 AM

      Look, Windows 8 has made me a lot of money in configuring it for the standard user, but don’t piss in my ear and tell me it’s raining. Enterprise, sure fine, you can have that. Everything else, skip it, keep your 7, and wait for Threshold.

  2. mvp43 - Aug 12, 2014 at 1:49 PM

    Well what’s Sterling going to do for fun now? I guess he could go back to being a slum lord.

  3. reprob8 - Aug 12, 2014 at 2:04 PM

    the clock is ticking…what’s the over/under of months until the team is moved to Seattle?

    • asimonetti88 - Aug 12, 2014 at 2:13 PM

      Hopefully sooner than later.

      • mackcarrington - Aug 12, 2014 at 4:39 PM

        They’ll move to Orange County before they move to Seattle.

    • seansull83 - Aug 12, 2014 at 2:37 PM

      Won’t happen Balmer has clearly stated he didn’t want to move the team, and him and Chris Hansen have had any talks since the botched Kings deal.

    • shanelsweet - Aug 12, 2014 at 9:29 PM

      Hey, you tell me. If you’re willing to bet that the Clippers are leaving LA, then pick your time frame ’cause that’s never going to happen.

  4. redbullenergydrink - Aug 12, 2014 at 2:06 PM

    Could I borrow some money, Ballmer? Please!

  5. antistratfordian - Aug 12, 2014 at 2:25 PM

    Thank the Maker!

  6. grantgoodman93 - Aug 12, 2014 at 2:59 PM

    Dear Lord, why did you have to take Robin Williams? Was Donald Sterling not good enough?

  7. papacrick - Aug 12, 2014 at 4:05 PM

    I didn’t even know there was a Windows 8. What kind of business are you running? You still don’t have a Mac? Must be 1996 or something

    • asimonetti88 - Aug 12, 2014 at 5:01 PM

      What kind of business are you running that uses a Mac? You must either be in the film industry or a private graphic designer. Literally everyone else in the enterprise uses Windows.

  8. andreboy1 - Aug 12, 2014 at 5:47 PM

    Good luck with this.

    This guy is a huge a-hole.

  9. mt10425 - Aug 12, 2014 at 5:47 PM

    As a native San Diegan, I remember DS fondly. If someone helps him to his end, the city would celebrate.

  10. lks311 - Aug 12, 2014 at 8:10 PM

    An odd trivia note: Jay Ballmer, Robin Williams. Both attended the same suburban Detroit High School – Detroit Country Day.

    • lks311 - Aug 12, 2014 at 8:11 PM

      …Steve Ballmer.

  11. broncobrewer - Aug 12, 2014 at 10:50 PM

    Ballmer second worst purchase. His first being the purchase of Nokia.

  12. justjoevideo - Aug 13, 2014 at 4:37 AM

    ….and so the new Seattle Supersonics were born…

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