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Donald Sterling backs out of $2 billion Clippers deal, will proceed with lawsuit

The embattled Clippers owner has pulled out of a $2 billion deal to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
By Kate Stanton   |   June 9, 2014 at 11:07 PM   |   Comments

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LOS ANGELES, June 9 (UPI) -- Donald Sterling has reneged on a deal to sell the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for a record-setting $2 billion.

The embattled league owner agreed to drop his lawsuit against the NBA last week as part of the Ballmer sale, though his lawyer, Maxwell Blecher, said Monday that Sterling had changed his mind.

Blecher said in an email to the Wall Street Journal that Sterling agreed to the sale on the assumption the NBA would rescind his $2.5 million fine and lifetime ban. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver stressed Saturday that both penalties would still apply.

"There is absolutely no possibility that the lifetime ban will be rescinded or that the fine will be changed in any way," Silver said.

Sterling said in a statement on Monday that Silver "acted in haste" when the commissioner banned him rom the league.

Sterling said he was "sorry" for his derogatory remarks about African-Americans, he had no desire to sell the team.

"The action taken by Adam Silver and the NBA constitutes a violation of my rights and fly in the face of the freedoms that are afforded to all Americans," Sterling said. "I have decided that I must fight to protect my rights. While my position may not be popular, I believe that my rights to privacy and the preservation of my rights to due process should not be trampled."

But Silver said he believed the Ballmer sale would move forward despite Sterling's protests. Sterling's wife, Shelly, brokered the sale as sole trustee of the Sterling family trust, which owns the Clippers, citing her estranged husband's alleged dementia.

Here's Donald Sterling's full statement:

I would like to clarify some issues regarding the Los Angeles Clippers and affiliated matters. From the onset, I did not want to sell the Los Angeles Clippers. I have worked for 33 years to build the Team.

To be clear, I am extremely sorry for the hurtful statements I made privately. I made those statements in anger and out of jealousy all in the context of a private conversation. While this is not an excuse for the statements, like every other American, I never imagined that my private conversation would be made public.

Many things have been said about me in the media which are not true. I believe that Adam Silver acted in haste by illegally ordering the forced sale of the Clippers, banning me for life from the NBA and imposing the fine. Adam Silver's conduct in doing so without conducting any real investigation was wrong.

The action taken by Adam Silver and the NBA constitutes a violation of my rights and fly in the face of the freedoms that are afforded to all Americans.

I have decided that I must fight to protect my rights. While my position may not be popular, I believe that my rights to privacy and the preservation of my rights to due process should not be trampled.

I love the team and have dedicated 33 years of my life to the organization. I intend to fight to keep the Team.

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