Los Angeles Clippers co-owner Shelly Sterling has announced the franchise’s $2 billion sale to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
The record-setting transaction was signed by Ballmer and Sterling Thursday evening, but both parties remained mum until releasing statements late that night.
Shelly Sterling said in the release that she was acting as the sole trustee of the Sterling Family Trust, which owns the Clippers. ESPN reported that experts had recently declared co-owner Donald Sterling to be “mentally incapacitated,” transferring power over the team to Shelly under the rules of the trust.
“I am delighted that we are selling the team to Steve, who will be a terrific owner,” Shelly Sterling said. “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.”
Donald Sterling may still elect to fight the sale. His lawyer, Maxwell Blecher, said in an email Thursday afternoon that Sterling “is resisting and will resist any sale of the team forced by the NBA.”
The NBA must also approve the sale, including any additional vetting of Ballmer — worth an estimated $20 billion. The league has not yet commented on its plans, but had a chance to examine the new potential owner when he attempted to buy the Sacramento Kings last year.
“I will be honored to have my name submitted to the NBA Board of Governors for approval as the next owner of the Los Angeles Clippers,” Ballmer said in a statement released by Sterling’s representatives. “I love basketball. And I intend to do everything in my power to ensure that the Clippers continue to win – and win big – in Los Angeles. LA 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. I thank Shelly Sterling for her willingness to entrust the Clippers franchise to me, and I am grateful to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and his colleagues for working collaboratively with me throughout this process.”