NBA Braces For A Storm Over Donald Sterling's Ownership Of Clippers

George Nielsen

Donald Sterling has experience making legal proceedings an ordeal for those against him. The NBA ousted the billionaire owner of the LA Clippers after racist comments were recorded during a conversation with his former girlfriend on April 9th. That resulted in a lifetime ban from all NBA games - combined with a 2.5 million dollar fine that would seem pretty stiff except that Donald Sterling's worth an estimated 1.9 billion dollars. The real kicker comes in the proceedings at play right now as the NBA takes actions to force Sterling to give up the LA Clippers.

A fine and a lifetime ban might be easy enough for the NBA to hand down, but taking the team promises to be a brutal legal fight. Donald Sterling can handle brutal... even thrive in it. Over the years multiple disputes in court have found Sterling accused of mishandling his real estate rentals - cases mostly filed by African American tenants (a pattern continues). One case involved a single African American mother who sued because neglected maintenance, she claimed, had made her home unlivable. Donald lost the case, but still claimed victory by replacing the floors with mismatched patches of carpet, which brought the woman to tears as she watched the workers install Sterling's revenge.

Moral of the story - the NBA hasn't heard the last from Donald Sterling. Ever since Donald Sterling bought into the league in 1981 the NBA has been looking for a door to kick him out of. The first attempt came a year after he bought the Clippers and decided to move the team (without approval) to LA. The unanimous vote to oust him didn't stick, so the NBA tried to sue for 25 million dollars. When Sterling counter-sued for 100 million dollars the leagues was happy to settle for 6 million from him... but, needless to say, he didn't make any friends in the process.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver was the one who rained punishment down on Donald Sterling after the TMZ story released, going to an extreme he didn't even know was in his grasp to take. The storm's dark horizon showed itself last week when the NBA owners' Advisory/Finance Committee unanimously voted to send their 'remove Donald Sterling from the LA Clippers' decision to a full vote. Sterling's comment? The Clippers aren't for sale. The NBA has since appointed a temporary CEO for the Clippers. Cue the thunder.

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