News

With Clippers deal in hand, Ballmer turns focus to fans

With Clippers deal in hand, Ballmer turns focus to fans

CLIPPERS CONTROVERSY: Shelly Sterling (C), her lawyer Pierce O'Donnell (R), and Steve Ballmer's lawyer Adam Streisand (2nd R) speak at a news conference to discuss the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to Steve Ballmer in Los Angeles, California Aug. 12. Photo: Reuters

By Eric Kelsey and Ronald Grover

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Steve Ballmer, the former head of Microsoft , completed a $2 billion purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team on Tuesday, ending an ugly saga involving former owner Donald Sterling who was banned for life over racist remarks.

The 58-year-old tech billionaire has vowed to make the team a pillar in the community after Sterling’s comments published nearly four months sparked public outrage, caused sponsors to quit and players to consider a boycott during the Clippers’ playoff run.

“The Clippers franchise is a true public trust, and my goal is that the Clippers will play an ever-increasing role in the life of our community,” Ballmer said in an open letter to fans.

“I pledge this: I will be hard core in my commitment to give the team the support it needs to be its best on and off the court,” he added.

The NBA-record deal closed at around 9 a.m. (1600 GMT), after Ballmer’s attorney, Adam Streisand, picked up an order from a Los Angeles probate court confirming that Sterling’s estranged wife, Shelly, had the right to sell the team, Streisand said.

Sterling, who has owned the team for 33 years, has asked a California appeals court to halt the deal, saying he believed the probate court ruled too broadly in letting the sale be completed before his appeal could be heard.

The NBA still faces civil lawsuits in California and U.S. courts from Sterling, who says the league’s actions relied on illegal evidence and violated corporate law in its attempts to have the team sold.

The NBA has filed a counterclaim in federal court alleging Sterling’s behavior has damaged the league and that Shelly Sterling has given the league legal indemnity from her husband.

The NBA Board of Governors had previously approved the sale.

WIFE: “IT WILL WORK OUT”

Shelly Sterling, 79, struck the sale deal with Ballmer in May, a month after the NBA banned her 80-year-old real estate billionaire husband for life and fined him $2.5 million for his privately taped and published remarks imploring a girlfriend not to publicly associate with black people.

A majority of players in the NBA are black.

Upset the league would not lift his ban or rescind the fine, Sterling vowed to block the sale, forcing his wife to go to court to have the deal go through.

“I hate losing the team, but it’s going to a wonderful person,” Shelly Sterling said at a news conference.

Shelly Sterling, who unlike her husband will be able to attend Clippers games, said she had not spoken to him yet on Tuesday.

“I’m sure it’ll all work out,” she added.

Ballmer, who had previously pursued an NBA franchise, will make his first public appearance as owner at a Clippers fan rally next Monday.

He is worth an estimated $21.3 billion, according to Forbes magazine, and is the 31st wealthiest person in the United States.

(Additional reporting by Steve Ginsburg and Mary Milliken; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

Today in entertainment history: Oct. 24

jamesbrown

A look back on some of the Hollywood headlines that made history.

in Local Sports

Miller has 31 saves, Canucks beat Blues 4-1

Vancouver Canucks' Henrik Sedin (33), of Sweden, talks with Alexander Edler (23), of Sweden, during a timeout in the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Phoenix Coyotes Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. The Coyotes defeated the Canucks 1-0.

Vancouver snaps 2 game losing skid with win over St. Louis

in Sports

Manning, Sanders lead Broncos past Chargers 35-21

FILE - In this Jan. 12, 2014 file photo, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning calls an audible at the line of scrimmage against the San Diego Chargers in the second quarter of an NFL divisional playoff football game in Denver. Folks who watched the Broncos' NFL playoff win over the San Diego Chargers on television Sunday couldn't help but notice how often, and loudly, Manning used the code word "Omaha" as he barked signals. Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce president and CEO David Brown said he wants to explore the possibility of hiring Manning, one of the sporting world's top pitchmen, to shoot a promotional ad for Omaha.

Peyton Manning threw 3TD passes - all to Emmanuel Sanders - as the Broncos knocked off the Chargers Thursday Night

in Sports

Steve Nash ruled out for season with back injury

Steve Nash

The Lakers and Nash announced their decision Thursday, less than a week before the start of the 40-year-old Nash's 19th NBA season.

in Local Sports

WWU: Men’s soccer team & volleyball crew victorious

western washington logo generic copy/wwu

Vikings score twice in less than two minutes midway through first half to win for the fifth time in their last six games, improving to 7-6-1 overall and 5-4-1 in GNAC play.