Sterling Sues NBA for $1B

Though his wife would have to pay it

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted May 31, 2014 5:31 AM CDT

(Newser) – The soap opera that is Donald Sterling's ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers seems to be winding down, but not without a few last-minute plot twists. To begin with, Steve Ballmer's $2 billion purchase of the team is now all but a done deal and expected to close next month, the LA Times reports. But that momentum didn't stop Sterling from suing the NBA for $1 billion in damages, alleging that the league illegally wrenched the team from him, reports the Wall Street Journal. Not so, says the league, because wife Shelly had every right to strike a deal with Ballmer on her own once her husband was deemed mentally unfit.

The kicker there is that Shelly Sterling, as part of her to deal to sell the team, indemnified the league against any lawsuits from her husband. Which is to say, she would have to pay that $1 billion in damages herself if by some long shot he wins in court, reports AP. The league, for its part, is brushing of the lawsuit as "entirely baseless." And the final footnote belongs to the Upshot blog of the New York Times, which crunches the numbers to reveal that Donald Sterling would make a return on his investment of 15,900% under the Ballmer deal. Sterling bought the club for $12.5 million in 1981.

In this 2010 photo, Shelly Sterling sits with her husband, Donald Sterling, during a game.
In this 2010 photo, Shelly Sterling sits with her husband, Donald Sterling, during a game.   (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
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