Judge Rules For Shelly Sterling, Paving Path For Clippers Sale To Ballmer

07.29.14 3 years ago
Shelly Sterling, Donald Sterling

Shelly Sterling, Donald Sterling (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Yesterday the judge awarded Shelly Sterling a resounding win in her probate trail with estranged husband Donald Sterling. The decision will allow the record $2 billion sale of the Clippers to ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to be completed. More importantly to basketball fans, we’ll now avoid the threat of a boycott by members of the Clippers and their coaching staff when training camp’s open in the fall.

Closing arguments came yesterday and the judge eventually ruled — by way of the Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times — Shelly had “reasonable belief” Donald authorized her to sell the Clippers. The judge also noted Shelly’s testimony was “far and away” more credible than Donald’s was on the stand.

Perhaps the biggest win for Clippers fans was the judge’s ruling under 1310(b) of California Probate Code, which essentially makes the sale, “appeal-proof,” as USA Today‘s David Leon Moore noted a little over a week ago.

Any attempt by Donald to appeal the judgement will be difficult, regardless, and even though he’ll most likely try to stretch this process out as long as possible in court, an appeal won’t block the actual sale.

On Tuesday last week, acting interim CEO of the Clippers, Dick Parsons, testified about the resulting havoc if Sterling continued as owner, particularly Doc Rivers‘ admission he’d leave and how it would accelerate the “death spiral” of the franchise. Per Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

“If Doc were to leave, that would be a disaster,” Parsons said. “Doc is the father figure of the team. Chris [Paul] is the on-court captain of the team. But Doc is really the guy who leads the effort. He’s the coach, the grown-up, he’s a man of character and ability — not just in a basketball sense, but in the ability to connect with people and gain their trust. The team believes in him and admires and loves him. If he were to bail, with all the other circumstances, it would accelerate the death spiral.”

By way of Jeff Zillgitt at USA Today comes the NBA’s statement on yesterday’s ruling:

Hopefully, this ruling and the ensuing sale means the NBA is finally rid of the loathsome Donald Sterling forever. Then again, he’s shown a remarkable ability to keep coming back, so don’t forget this will be a long slog to resolution, even though this was a major victory.

What do you think?

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