With the Finals starting tonight, it seems like perfect timing for the Donald Sterling saga (at least as it pertains to the NBA, other lawsuits from ex-lovers not included) to come to an end. News came out last night that Sterling intends to drop his $1 billion lawsuit against the league. In exchange, the league will drop its charges against Sterling, paving the way for Steve Ballmer’s purchase of the Clippers to go through without any legal wrangling.
This, of course, comes after Sterling was declared mentally incapacitated and his wife Shelly Sterling took over the family trust in a manner that meant if Donald Sterling were to sue, he was essentially suing for money out of his own trust. It put the entire premise of the lawsuit at a very precarious position, so reaching a settlement with the league makes sense.
Of course, with Sterling, we’re hesitant to declare this as the end of the controversy definitively. In a strange twist, Sterling, who is known to be kinda cheap, is less concerned about the financial aspect of the sale than about his tarnished reputation.
His lawyer, Max Belcher, told the Los Angeles Times, “He doesn’t want to die and have his tombstone say, ‘Here lies a mental incompetent and a racist. He is trying to do the best he can to see whether those stigmas can be eliminated or at least reduced…. That is what this is about.”
Sterling already started his path to mending his reputation by attending a predominantly African-American church in Southern Los Angeles this past weekend, which, well, seems a little too late after all the things he’s said and done.
If Sterling indeed reaches a settlement with the league and the lawsuit disappears, all that’s left for the Clippers sale to be finalized is an approval vote from the NBA Board of Governors. After all the twists and turns, it looks the league might get a clean break from being associated with Sterling without all a lengthy legal action.
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