The Los Angeles Clippers moved on from months of ugliness yesterday, with Steve Ballmer officially becoming the team’s new owner in a record $2 billion sale that ousted Donald Sterling as the NBA’s longest-tenured owner.
Sterling bought the team in 1981 for $12 million and presided over decades of losing seasons before engaging in a fierce legal fight with his estranged wife to hold on to his most-prized asset.
The team said the sale closed after a Los Angeles court confirmed the authority of Shelly Sterling, on behalf of the Sterling Family Trust, to sell the franchise to the former Microsoft CEO.
The NBA Board of Governors had approved the sale.
“Really excited — in a pretty hardcore way — to continue the path to making the Clippers a better and better basketball team, and a better and better citizen of the Los Angeles community,” Ballmer told the Associated Press.
Attorneys for Donald Sterling were going to court yesterday to file a writ, asking an appellate court to vacate the ruling by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas, which allowed for the sale to go through even if the case was under appeal.
Ballmer agreed to give Shelly Sterling the title of “owner emeritus.”
“I am confident that Steve will bring the city a championship team in the very near future,” she said.