The LA Clippers have been sold to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in a $2 billion deal after their previous owner Donald Sterling was given a NBA ban over racist remarks.
Ballmer, who retired from Microsoft in February, is said to have reached a binding agreement with Sterling’s wife, Shelly, who had been handling the sale of the team.
The sale comes just days before a NBA panel was due to meet to discuss revoking Sterling’s ownership over the team in light of the racism scandal last month.
The likely new owner, Ballmer, retired from Microsoft in February after 14 years as CEO, and has an estimated fortune of $20.3 billion, KCTV5 reported.
The Clippers have not yet confirmed the sale to Ballmer. The team had been bought by Sterling for $12.5 million in 1981.
Before the deal can be sealed, it has to be approved by the NBA – and Sterling, who had dithered over whether he would allow his wife to sell the team he has owned for more than 30 years.
Sterling’s attorney, Maxwell Blecher, told CNN: ‘The league on Tuesday has a guillotine over his head.’
He added that Sterling planned to challenge their right to remove his team over an illegally recorded conversation in which he allegedly made racist remarks.
‘He wants to be vindicated. He doesn’t want his tombstone to say, “Here lies Donald Sterling, racist”. And the NBA has the power to make that right,’ Blecher said.