Donald Sterling's estranged wife, Shelly Sterling, has sold the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for a staggering $2 billion.
"I am delighted that we are selling the team to Steve, who will be a terrific owner," Sterling said in a statement. "We have worked for 33 years to build the Clippers into a premiere NBA franchise. I am confident that Steve will take the team to new levels of success."
We can't lie -- we are a little shocked it all happen so quickly; we really thought the only way the Clippers would be sold was if they were pried out of Donald Sterling's cold, dead hands. But after Donald transferred his 50% share in the team to Shelley recently, it was up to her to decide if she'd sell.
Apparently Don was declared mentally unfit to make decisions related to the Sterling Family Trust, which owns the team. That meant Shelly had sole decision-making power for the trust, according to reports.
The deal was signed just before midnight Thursday, a source told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne. Ballmer must approved by the NBA's office and three-fourths of the league's owners, but it sounds like NBA commissioner Adam Silver is well in the know and fully supports the deal. Yeah -- anything to clean up that mess ole Donald made!
Apparently the disgraced real estate billionaire has hinted (although we didn't think subtlety was his thing) that he wants to challenge the sale, but things don't look good for him legally (and physically for that matter ... have you seen the guy? It's not good). Sterling apparently changed his mind, after transferring his half to Shelly -- his attorney saying Donald wanted to challenge the NBA ruling and and hold on to the team.
On Thursday night, Ballmer, who lives in Seattle, said he plans on keeping the team in Los Angeles. Previously the sports-loving techie made a failed bid to buy Sacramento Kings in hopes of moving the team to Washington.
As long as Ballmer loves Magic Johnson and isn't a racist -- he gets our vote.
"I love basketball," Ballmer said to media. "And I intend to do everything in my power to ensure that the Clippers continue to win -- and win big -- in Los Angeles. L.A. is one of the world's great cities -- a city that embraces inclusiveness, in exactly the same way that the NBA and I embrace inclusiveness. I am confident that the Clippers will in the coming years become an even bigger part of the community."
Maybe after things die down, Donald and V. Stiviano can finally live happily ever after -- matching visors and all.
Meanwhile, we caught up with Clippers' player Chris Paul last night at LAX and he hadn't heard about news of the sale. He said, simply, "We'll see what happens."
UPDATE: Donald Sterling has reportedly been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, reports TMZ.
Earlier this month Donald was examined by two prominent neurologists and went through extensive testing including both CT and a PET scan. The docs diagnosed Donald with Alzheimer's and say that the 80-year-old may have had the disease up to five years. The diagnosis is what ultimately stripped Sterling of his rights to the team, because it is believed that he no longer had ability to properly conduct the team's business.