Steve Ballmer buys LA Clippers for record $2bn

Former Clippers owner Donald Sterling was banned from the NBA for life after making racist comments caught on tape and released online

Former Microsoft chief executive, Steve Ballmer, is set to buy the Los Angeles Clippers for a record $2 billion after winning a frenetic bidding war for the embattled NBA franchise.

Shelly Sterling, the estranged wife of previous owner Donald Sterling, who was banned from the NBA for making racist comments, has signed a binding contract for the sale of the team, according to a statement earlier today.

She was acting under her authority as the sole trustee of The Sterling Family Trust, which owns the Clippers.

The deal comes just days before an NBA panel was due to meet to discuss the Clipper's future ownership after Sterling was caught making racist comments in an explosive conversation that sparked outrage in the US.

In the recording obtained by gossip website TMZ, he told girlfriend V. Stiviano not to bring black men to basketball games or post photographs on her Instagram account "associating 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.

The sports mogul has been banned from the NBA for life and will have to pay a $2.5 million fine, the most severe punishment ever handed down to a team owner, for his "offensive and harmful" remarks.

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling gestures while watching the Clippers play the Los Angeles Lakers during an NBA preseason basketball game Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling gestures while watching the Clippers play the Los Angeles Lakers during an NBA preseason basketball game However, details of the deal are yet to be finalised and Sterling's lawyer, Bobby Samini, has signalled that, as a co-owner of the franchise, his client must approve the sale.

Mr Ballmer outbid at least four other suitors, including a group of Los Angeles investors offering $1.2 billion for the team and a $1.6 billion bid led by entertainment mogul David Geffen, which also included Oprah Winfrey and billionaire Larry Ellison.

The former Microsoft chief executive, who tried to buy the Sacramento Kings franchise and relocate to Seattle last year, said he was "honoured" to have his name submitted to the NBA Board of Governors for approval as the next owner of the Los Angeles Clippers.

"LA is one of the world's great cities – a city that embraces inclusiveness, in exactly the same way that the NBA and I embrace inclusiveness, "he added."I am confident that the Clippers will in the coming years become an even bigger part of the community."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Content Writer - Global Financial Services

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Consultant - Financial Services - OTE £65,000

£15000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Loan Underwriter

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future