Donald Sterling pulls out of record $2bn deal to sell LA Clippers to Steve Ballmer

The 80-year old will also sue the NBA for violating his constitutional rights, anti-trust laws and breach of contract
  • @mariatad

Disgraced LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who was banned from the NBA for making racist comments, has pulled out of a record deal to sell the franchise and will sue the League for a massive $1bn.

"We have been instructed to prosecute the lawsuit," said attorney Maxwell Blecher on behalf of Mr Sterling in a statement, adding that the billionaire won't approve the sale of the team.

The latest twist in the LA Clippers saga comes just days after the embattled owner issued a statement agreeing to sell and confirmed plans to drop the lawsuit against the NBA.

However, it is understood Mr Sterling backtracked after learning the organisation won't revoke his lifetime ban or the $2.5 million fine, the most severe punishment ever handed down to a team owner, for his "hateful" remarks.

''While my position may not be popular," he said. "I believe that my rights to privacy and the preservation of my rights to due process should not be trampled. I love the team and have dedicated 33 years of my life to the organisation.''

The lawsuit claims the NBA violated his constitutional rights by using what he claims is an "illegal" recording where he made a series of racist remarks in a private conversation to oust him. Mr Sterling also accuses the NBA of violating anti-trust laws by forcing a sale.

NBA spokesman Mike Bass rejected the claims, insisting that "there was never a discussion involving the NBA in which we would modify Mr. Sterling's penalty in any way whatsoever".

Last month, Mr Sterling's estranged wife, Shelly Sterling, agreed to sell the NBA franchise for a record $2 billion acting as the trustee of The Sterling Family Trust, which owns the Clippers, to Microsoft's former chief executive Steve Ballmer, a basketball aficionado.

Mr Ballmer reportedly outbid at least four other suitors including a group of Los Angeles investors offering $1.2 billion and a $1.6 billion bid led by entertainment mogul David Geffen.

Back in April, Mr Sterling sparked outrage after he was caught making racist comments in an explosive conversation with former girlfriend V. Stiviano where he told her not to bring black men to basketball games or "associate herself" with black people.

"You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it… and not to bring them to my games," he could be heard saying in the tape obtained by gossip website, TMZ.