NBA Calls Off Hearing on Sterling Charge, Will Vote on Ballmer Deal

A proposal to sell the team to ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was sent to the NBA Thursday

By Jonathan Lloyd and Jason Kandel
|  Saturday, May 31, 2014  |  Updated 5:56 AM CDT
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Donald Sterling filed a $1 billion lawsuit against the NBA in the fallout over his racist rant as his wife Shelly moves forward with the pending $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Beverly White reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. Friday, May 30, 2014.

Donald Sterling filed a $1 billion lawsuit against the NBA in the fallout over his racist rant as his wife Shelly moves forward with the pending $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Beverly White reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. Friday, May 30, 2014.

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Donald Sterling Files Suit Against NBA

Resistance from Donald Sterling to the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer may not prevent the deal, but it may give Sterling a financial advantage further down the road. Sterling's lawyers filed an antitrust lawsuit against the NBA seeking $1 billion. Patrick Healy reports from downtown LA for the NBC4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. on Friday, May 30, 2014.
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The NBA has canceled its hearing to consider Donald Sterling's ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers, saying the team will be sold to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

That announcement Friday afternoon came just after Sterling's lawyer filed an antitrust suit against the league, seeking $1 billion plus treble damages.

The league said in its statement that it has resolved its dispute over the franchise's ownership with Donald Sterling's estranged wife Shelly and the Sterling Family Trust, who agreed Thursday to sell the franchise to Ballmer for $2 billion.

Shelly Sterling and the trust "also agreed not to sue the NBA and to indemnify the NBA against lawsuits from others, including from Donald Sterling," the league said in its statement Friday.

With that, "the NBA will withdraw its pending charge to terminate the Sterlings' ownership of the team."

The NBA had charged Donald Sterling with damaging the league by making racist comments and planned the hearing for Tuesday, where league owners could have terminated his ownership — and Shelly's as well.

On Thursday, Ballmer announced he had agreed to buy the team for $2 billion, after Donald Sterling had handed control of the team over to Shelly Sterling last week, allowing her to negotiate a deal.

NBA owners had been scheduled to vote Tuesday on whether to force a sale of the team. Instead, the board of governors will vote on the deal to sell the team to Ballmer.

Sterling's attorney told NBC News that he has not agreed to sell the Clippers.

Sterling was recorded last month telling girlfriend V. Stiviano not to bring black friends to Clippers games, specifically mentioning Hall of Famer Magic Johnson.

Sterling's comments prompted widespread criticism, including from Johnson and other prominent NBA players, the NAACP and President Barack Obama.

Longtime sponsors and advertisers with the Clippers ended their relationships and suspended ads.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver imposed on Sterling a lifetime league ban, fined him $2.5 million and vowed to force a sale of the team.

Two weeks after the announcement, Sterling made his first public statements in an interview in which he called the remarks a terrible mistake and asked for forgiveness.

In the same interview, he also blasted Magic Johnson, saying the Lakers great was not a good role model for children and had done nothing for black people.

The Sterling family bought the LA Clippers in 1981 for $12 million.

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