NBA Drama: Clippers Coach Sterling Sues NBA for $1 Billion

It's FAN-tastic! It was a wild day for professional basketball. The Miami Heat beat the Indiana Pacers 117 to 92 to with the Eastern Conference Finals four games to two.

The Heat will play the winners of the Western Conference Finals, either the Oklahoma City Thunder or the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs currently lead the series 3-2.

There was also drama off the court Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers filed a lawsuit seeking $1 billion dollars from the NBA. And the NBA decided to cancel a hearing to remove him, instead of voting to approve a record-breaking deal to sell the team for $2 billion dollars to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. To add more Dynasty or Dallas-style TV show drama, that deal was brokered by his estranged wife Shelly Sterling, who is a trustee in the family trust that owns the team.

Donald Sterling, who was audio taped saying derogatory remarks about black Americans and basketball players, opposes being forced to sell the team. After he confirmed he had made the statements, the NBA banned him for life from having interaction with the team, or attending any NBA games, and assessed the highest fine it had the authority to give: $2.5 million.

His wife negotiated the sale to Ballmer because she has power of attorney rights as a co-trustee of family assets. The was granted the authority after he had been determined to suffer from dementia.

Mr. Sterling's lawyer, Bobby Samini, told the Associated Press, "The assertion that Donald Sterling lacks mental capacity is absurd."

The lawsuit that Samini filed on behalf of Sterling claims that the recording of his racist comments was illegal, and the NBA should therefore not have used it in assessment of his viability as an NBA owner. Violations of anti-trust laws were also contended.

First, the case will head to the California Probate Court to determine the status of Mr. and Mrs. Sterling's capacity. The case will surely end up in various appellate courts, and even potentially the U.S. Supreme Court, because anti-trust violations are involved.

 

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