Steve Ballmer Seals The Deal As New Owner Of LA Clippers

Steve Ballmer Seals The Deal As New Owner Of LA Clippers

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Los Angeles, CA -

(FOX 11 / CNS) After months of legal wrangling, the $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was completed today, ending Donald Sterling's 33-year tenure as the team's owner.

In a brief statement, the NBA confirmed the deal, saying the sale was finalized "following the entry of an order by a California court confirming the authority of Shelly Sterling, on behalf of the Sterling Family Trust, to sell the team.

"The NBA Board of Governors previously approved the sale and Ballmer is now the Clippers Governor," according to the league.

Attorneys for Donald Sterling had filed a petition with a state appeals court on Friday asking for an emergency order blocking the sale. The court declined to take any action, since a ruling by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas allowing Shelly Sterling to move ahead with the sale had not been finalized.

It was not immediately clear if Donald Sterling's attorneys would go back to the appeals court in hopes of negating the deal.

Ballmer said he was "humbled and honored" to be the Clippers owners. "Clipper fans are so amazing," he said. "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."

The team is planning a Fan Festival at noon Monday at Staples Center. "This is an amazing new day in Clippers history," said Clippers Coach Doc Rivers, who is also the team's president of basketball operations. "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."

On July 28, following weeks of testimony in a non-jury trial, Levanas ruled that Shelly Sterling had acted properly in removing Donald Sterling as a trustee of the Sterling Family Trust that owned the team. The move came after two doctors examined Donald Sterling and determined him to be mentally incapacitated.

Sterling contended he had been duped by his wife into submitting to the medical tests as part of a plot to have him ousted from the trust so the sale could move forward.

Levanas, however, said Shelly Sterling was motivated "solely by her concerns for his well-being," Levanas said, adding that despite the couple's estrangement, there remains genuine affection between the pair. There was no "secret plan to remove (Donald Sterling) from the trust," the judge concluded.

The judge also shot down Donald Sterling's contention that his revocation of the family trust removed his wife's authority to sell the NBA franchise.

Sterling has also filed a separate lawsuit challenging Shelly Sterling's right to sell the team based on corporate law.

He also has a civil rights lawsuit pending in federal court against the NBA, claiming he was being railroaded out of the league in violation of his constitutional rights.

Donald Sterling, who purchased the Clippers in 1981 for $12.5 million, has been under pressure to sell the team since the release of recorded conversations between him and companion V. Stiviano. In those conversations, Sterling criticized Stiviano for having her picture taken with black people and tells her not to bring them to Clippers games.

The comments earned Sterling a lifetime ban from the NBA, which initiated actions to strip the Clippers from him. The league put those efforts on hold pending the decision on Shelly Sterling's ability to sell the franchise.

Press Release From The Los Angeles Clippers

STEVE BALLMER COMPLETES PURCHASE OF LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS

The Los Angeles Clippers today announced that the transaction in which Steve Ballmer purchased the Los Angeles Clippers closed today following the entry of an order by a California court confirming the authority of Shelly Sterling, on behalf of the Sterling Family Trust, to sell the team.

The NBA Board of Governors previously approved the sale and Mr. Ballmer is now the Clippers Governor.

“I am humbled and honored to be the new owner of the Los Angeles Clippers,” Mr. Ballmer said. “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. I look forward to meeting our fans at our STAPLES Center Fan Festival on Monday, Aug. 18 at 12:30 pm PT.”

“This is an amazing new day in Clippers history,” Clippers President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Doc Rivers said. “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.”

Ballmer, Doc Rivers and Clippers players will be in attendance at a Clippers Fan Festival that will be open to the general public on Monday, Aug. 18 at STAPLES Center at 12:30 p.m. PT.


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