Donald Sterling has filed a lawsuit against the NBA for more than $1 BILLION, claiming he was unconstitutionally bullied out of the league.
Sterling filed a federal lawsuit Friday afternoon ... claiming the NBA booted him from the league based on what he called an illegal recording that was widely publicized ... painting him as a racist.
As you know ... TMZ obtained the recording and posted it on the website.
Sterling also claims the $2.5 million fine was baseless and a violation of antitrust laws.
Shelly Sterling sold the team late Thursday to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion. The deal will almost certainly be ratified by the NBA.
L.A. Clippers Sale
Ballmer's $2 Billion Offer
5/30/2014 10:36 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Sources familiar with the sale tell us ... the ex-Microsoft CEO was able to separate himself from the pack of potential L.A. Clippers buyers by making an "ALL CASH" offer to buy the squad.
File Under: "You Know You're Rich When" ... YOU CAN MAKE A $2 BILLION CASH OFFER TO BUY AN NBA TEAM ... like Steve Ballmer just did with the Clippers.
Clearly, Shelly Sterling likey.
It's not like Ballmer has a problem coming up with the dough -- he's worth an estimated $20 BILLION according to Forbes.
Who says WINDOWS is obsolete!?
Diagnosed with Alzheimer's
5/30/2014 9:49 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Donald Sterling has Alzheimer's and that's why doctors declared he is incompetent to have a voice in the sale of the L.A. Clippers ... TMZ Sports has learned.
Sources connected with the Sterling family tell TMZ ... the trust agreement that governs the family's ownership of the team provides if 2 qualified doctors determine either Donald or Shelly shows "an inability to conduct business affairs in a reasonable and normal manner" ... they will then be stripped of control over the team.
We're told earlier this month Donald agreed to an examination by 2 prominent neurologists. He underwent extensive tests, including a CT and PET scan. We're told both doctors diagnosed Donald with Alzheimer's and concluded he may have had the disease for as long as 5 years. The doctors both concluded he did not have the ability to conduct the business of the team.
Under the trust agreement ... the doctors' conclusions were enough to strip Donald of control.
Our sources say Donald can appeal the doctors' conclusions to the California Probate Court.
One interesting thing ... TMZ Sports broke the story ... on May 22 Donald signed a letter written to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver relinquishing control of the team to his wife Shelly. It's unclear if Donald's lawyer will now argue the letter is invalid because of Donald's mental incapacity.
The problem for Donald -- if his lawyer argues mental incapacity, under the trust agreement he automatically loses control over the team. So it's a Catch-22 for Donald.
5/29/2014 8:30 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Shelly Sterling has sold the L.A. Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for a whopping $2 billion.
As TMZ Sports reported ... the deal was signed just before midnight Thursday. The NBA must approve the sale, but our sources say NBA commissioner Adam Silver has been well aware of Shelly's negotiations with Ballmer and other potential buyers and will support it.
Donald Sterling has made rumblings he may challenge the sale, but he will almost certainly fail.
TMZ Sports broke the story ... Donald gave Shelly sole control over the team -- allowing her to sell it -- and even sent a letter to Silver affirming that Shelly had the reins.
As for Ballmer ... he vowed Thursday night to keep the team in Los Angeles. Ballmer is entrenched in Seattle -- which currently has no NBA team -- and even made a bid to buy the Sacramento Kings and move the team to the Emerald City.
It's pretty remarkable -- just one week ago, it appeared Silver would force an involuntary sale of the team, but Shelly and her lawyer, Pierce O'Donnell, took the initiative to solicit bids and ended up with a buyer pretty much everyone can get behind.
L.A. Clippers Sale
Agreement to Be Signed Tonight
5/29/2014 7:23 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Shelly Sterling will sign a deal Thursday night to sell the L.A. Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer ... for $2 billion ... sources familiar with the negotiations tell TMZ Sports.
Contrary to various reports ... the deal has not be signed, but in the last 2 hours Ballmer and Shelly have made "an agreement in principle."
We're told lawyers for both sides are currently hammering out details, and they expect the parties will sign on the dotted line before midnight Pacific Time
Our sources say Ballmer has agreed that he will not move the team from Los Angeles to Seattle ... where he has deep roots. We do not know if that promise is memorialized in the agreement.
Report Team Is Sold ...
5/29/2014 4:04 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
A new report by the L.A. Times that the L.A. Clippers have been sold to ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion is not true ... TMZ Sports has learned.
Sources familiar with the negotiations tell us ... Shelly Sterling is in a meeting now -- at the time of this post -- negotiating with Ballmer and several other prospective buyers who have made offers.
We're told Shelly is currently reviewing documents, but no agreement has been struck with anyone.
Our sources say, however, a deal will be finalized by end of business Friday ... and Ballmer is definitely in the running.
TMZ broke the story ... Ballmer is toward the top of Shelly's list and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is aware she is negotiating to sell the team.
NBA Commish Adam Silver
BANNING STERLING WASN'T PERSONAL
... It's Just Business.
5/29/2014 6:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
We asked if his personal relationship with the disgraced Clippers owner -- which spanned more than 2 decades -- made it even harder to dish out the punishment. Silver's answer seems pretty genuine.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver tells us ... making the decision to ban Donald Sterling from the league for life was "very difficult" ... but it's business -- and it had to be done.
Silver was out in NYC yesterday when he began talking to TMZ Sports -- which he says has consistently shocked him.
But at the end of the day, Silver says ... "It's business. And I think he understood that as well."
Bonus -- Silver says he's a huge Justin Bieber fan ... but then he kinda disses Austin Mahone.
The Mahomies are gonna be pisssssed!!!!!!
I Signed Away the Clippers
In a Letter
5/28/2014 5:53 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Donald Sterling may now be saying he disavows anything Shelly Sterling is doing to sell the Clippers ... but TMZ Sports has obtained a letter personally signed by Donald giving Shelly control ... and he sent the letter to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
In the letter -- obtained by TMZ Sports -- dated May 22, 2014, Sterling's lawyer writes:
"As you know, I have been a long-time attorney for Donald T. Sterling. Mr. Sterling agrees to the sale of his interest in the Los Angeles Clippers."
The letter goes on: "This letter confirms that Donald T. Sterling authorizes Rochelle Sterling to negotiate with the National Basketball Association regarding all issues in connection with a sale of the Los Angeles Clippers team, owned by LAC Basketball Club, Inc."
Below the lawyers signature is Donald Sterling's John Hancock, saying "read and approved."
So ... Sterling's lawyer may now says he's unaware of any deal his client made with Shelly, but Donald did the deed on paper and it was signed, sealed and delivered.
As for Donald, he went to Mastro's Steakhouse in Beverly Hills last night -- but when asked about the sale of the team, his lips were sealed.
I'm Accepting Offers this Week
To Sell the Clippers
5/27/2014 12:55 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Shelly Sterling will accept offers this week to buy the Los Angeles Clippers ... and a frontrunner is a group led by former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer ... TMZ Sports has learned.
We broke the story ... Shelly met with Ballmer Sunday at her Malibu home, and our sources say his group made "a very competitive offer."
Sources tell us .. Shelly and her lawyer Pierce O'Donnell have put the word out ... they'd like to make a deal THIS WEEK. We're also told NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is aware of what she's doing. O'Donnell would not comment but we're told Shelly and Silver have an open line of communication.
We're told there are several other potential buyers in which Shelly is interested, including:
-- Grant Hill Group (Hill is a former NBA star who teamed up with investment partners)
-- Magic Johnson and the Guggenheim Partners (a financial company based in Chicago)
-- Patrick Soon-Shiong (surgeon turned multi-billionaire businessman)
-- David Geffen and Larry Ellison
Our sources say Oprah Winfrey is no longer in the running.
TMZ Sports broke the story ... Donald has turned full control of the team over to Shelly and she is privately negotiating with Silver to allow her to sell the team on her terms. The team could be worth upwards of $1.5 billion.
Meets with Microsoft Billionaire
To Sell Clippers
5/25/2014 12:14 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Shelly Sterling will meet with former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Sunday afternoon ... and the subject of the meeting is selling the Clippers ... TMZ Sports has learned.
The meeting will take place at Shelly's Malibu mansion. TMZ Sports broke the story ... Donald Sterling has surrendered control of the team to Shelly.
We're told Shelly sees the handwriting on the wall -- the NBA wants the team sold -- but she wants to do it on her terms. She and her lawyer, Pierce O'Donnell, have been secretly meeting with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to see if they can reach an agreement whereby Shelly has the right to voluntarily sell the team.
Shelly is taking matters into her own hands. Ballmer -- worth an estimated $20 billion -- has indicated he wants to buy the team. We're told O'Donnell will be present at the meeting.
Here's the rub for L.A. fans. Although Ballmer has publicly said if he bought the team he would keep it in the City of Angels ... he's deeply entrenched in Seattle. He was actively trying to keep the Sonics in his home city before the team moved to Oklahoma. With such deep family ties and city pride ... there's fear Ballmer would move the team North.
Surrenders Control of Clippers
... to Shelly
5/23/2014 6:49 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Donald Sterling is no longer the controlling owner of the Los Angeles Clippers ... TMZ Sports has learned he just surrendered control to his estranged wife, Shelly Sterling, and she is now secretly negotiating with the NBA to sell the team ... ON HER TERMS.
Sources close to the Clippers organization tell us ... Donald made the decision because he saw the handwriting on the wall -- as long as he remained in control, the NBA would order an involuntary sale of the team.
Our sources say Shelly and her lawyer, Pierce O'Donnell, have been secretly meeting with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and NBA lawyers to "resolve the dispute amicably." We're told Shelly realizes the NBA wants the team sold, but she has significantly more leverage and credibility with the league than Donald. Her end game is simple -- she won't object to the sale, but SHE wants to call the shots.
Our Sterling sources say Shelly is prepared to sue the NBA and she will file legal docs (not the suit itself but papers laying out her case) on Tuesday if the NBA orders an INVOLUNTARY sale. She's down with a sale but only a voluntary one that puts her in control.
Attorney Pierce O'Donnell would not comment on this story, but did say, "Shelly Sterling's preference has always been to find a way to resolve this dispute amicably with the NBA in a mutually satisfactory manner."
Hires Lawyer, Threatens
to Sue NBA
5/16/2014 4:57 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Donald Sterling has finally found a lawyer who will take his case ... and has fired off a letter to the NBA refusing to pay the $2.5 million fine and threatening to sue ... this according to a new report.
Sterling has hired prominent antitrust litigator Maxwell Blecher, reports SI.com, who has already sent the NBA a letter saying Sterling has done nothing wrong and that "no punishment is warranted."
The report says the letter goes on to say that Sterling will not pay the $2.5 million fine the league levied on him, which is already past due.
Sterling's lawyer, the report claims, says the embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner has not violated any article of the NBA constitution and argues that Sterling's "due process rights" have been violated by the NBA.
As TMZ first reported, Sterling was turned down by eight big law firms in his quest to sue the NBA.
Clips and Nips
5/16/2014 7:16 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
It was a little chilly at Staples Center last night ... just ask Rihanna.
While the Oklahoma City Thunder/Los Angeles Clippers game was the main attraction, the real show was going on in the stands ... where a braless RiRi strutted around throughout the game.
With her pink hair and a tight white tank top, she made the night more memorable than Blake Griffin and Chris Paul did.
Sorry Clippers, get 'em next year ... but please make sure Rihanna comes back.