Judge Denies Donald Sterling's Bid to Block Sale of Los Angeles Clippers

Court clears way for Sterling's wife to complete $2 billion deal.

Posted: 07/28/2014 06:55 PM EDT
Donald Sterling

Though they have yet to face off in divorce court, Shelly Sterling won a major legal victory against her estranged husband Donald Sterling on Monday. A judge ruled in favor of the wife of the disgraced Los Angeles Clippers owner to move forward with the sale of the team for $2 billion to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

Probate court judge Michael Levanas ruled that Sterling could not block the sale of the team, adding that he found Sterling's wife to be a more credible witness than her husband in matters related to Clippers business. Sterling's mental stability was called into question during the hearing of testimony, when he raised his voice at lawyers representing both sides and called his wife a "pig."

"I can't believe it's over. I feel good," Shelly Sterling said after the decision was handed down. 

Donald Sterling, 80, lost control of his team — which he acquired in 1981 — this past April when an audio recording of racist comments he made to his reported lover V. Stiviano caused an outrage in the sports world. 

The court's decision today should help resolve the need for action by Clippers players and coach Doc Rivers. Several team members had been talking about a boycott of the team, and Rivers vowed to step down as coach if Sterling wasn't ousted before the start of the 2014-2015 NBA season.

Sterling still has one more lawsuit up his sleeve, however. The persona non grata still seems intent on suing the NBA for more than $1 billion in damages for its part in his downfall. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the league would move to strip the Sterlings' ownership if the sale was not final by September 15. Silver banned Donald Sterling from the league for life and fined him $2.5 million in April after the offensive audio recording was leaked.

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