Donald Sterling loses court battle to block sale of LA clippers

Judge hands Shelly Sterling court victory after ruling she had the authority to sell the team for a record $2bn

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The Independent Online

Embattled LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who sparked outrage for making racist remarks, has lost his bid to block the sale of the team following a court battle against his estrange wife.

On Monday, an American judge affirmed Shelly Sterling's right to sell the team for a record $2 billion to former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer, acting as the sole trustee of The Sterling Family Trust, which owns the Clippers.

In his ruling, judge Michael Levanas said Mrs Sterling had "the authority to conduct the sale" after Sterling was found to be "mentally incapacitated", which effectively gave her complete control over the Clippers.

The 80-year old had sought to block the sale on the grounds that his estranged wife had him wrongfully diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

In his testimony, Sterling argued that she is too scared to stand up to the NBA and insisted that his decision to block the sale was purely based on economics, not ego. But judge Levanas argued that her testimony was "far more credible" and described his answers as "evasive" and "inconsistent".

After the ruling was announced, an emotional Mrs Sterling told reporters outside a California court: "I can't believe it's over. I feel good."

Meanwhile, Sterling's lawyers said they would file an appeal, insisting that the billionaire doesn't "see this as the final battleground" but "one stage of a long war" for the Clippers.

Sterling found himself at the centre of a media storm back in April after he was caught making racist comments in an explosive conversation with former girlfriend V. Stiviano, where he told her not associate herself with "black men".

The NBA banned Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million.