LOS ANGELES (AP) — Shelly Sterling reached an agreement Thursday night to sell the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion, according to an individual with knowledge of the negotiations.
The individual, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly, told The Associated Press that Ballmer and the Sterling Family Trust now have a binding agreement. The deal now must be presented to the NBA.
Shelly Sterling negotiated the sale after her husband, Donald Sterling, made racist remarks that were made public. Donald Sterling must also approve the final agreement as a 50 percent owner.
Ballmer beat out bids by Guggenheim Partners and a group including former NBA All-Star Grant Hill.
It’s unclear if the deal will go through. The individual said that though Donald Sterling was not involved in the negotiations, “at the end of the day, he has to sign off on the final process. They’re not going to sell his 50 percent without him agreeing to it.”
Donald Sterling’s attorney says that won’t happen. “Sterling is not selling the team,” said his attorney, Bobby Samini. “That’s his position. He’s not going to sell.”
That’s despite a May 22 letter obtained by The Associated Press and written by another one of Sterling’s attorneys that says that “Donald T. Sterling authorizes Rochelle Sterling to negotiate with the National Basketball Association regarding all issues in connection with a sale of the Los Angeles Clippers team.” It includes the line “read and approved” and Donald Sterling’s signature.
Samini said Sterling has had a change of heart primarily because of “the conduct of the NBA.” He said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s decision to ban Sterling for life and fine him $2.5 million as well as try to oust him as an owner was him acting as “judge, jury and executioner.”
“They’re telling me he should stand back and let them take his team because his opinion on that particular day was not good, was not popular?” Samini said. “That his team should be stripped from him? It doesn’t make sense. He’s going to fight.”
The person with knowledge of the deal said that any buyer would have to ensure the team remains in Los Angeles and be someone Shelly Sterling could work with if she decides to retain a small stake. An attorney representing Shelly Sterling declined to comment.
Franchise sale prices have soared since the current collective bargaining agreement was ratified in 2011. The Milwaukee Bucks were just sold to New York investment firm executives Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens for about $550 million, an NBA record.
Last year, Vivek Ranadive’s group acquired a 65 percent controlling interest in the Sacramento Kings at a total franchise valuation of more than $534 million, topping the previous record of $450 million that Joe Lacob and Peter Guber paid for the Golden State Warriors in 2010.
The bid for the Clippers, purchased by Sterling in 1981 for a little more than $12 million, blew right past those.
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Guilty Pleasures - Celebrity Confessions
45 photos Launch gallery
1. In an April 2012 interview, Zoe Saldana said, "I like missionary and I like being on my knees too. And I love being on top. . . . I love doggy style or standing up."
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2. Keri Hilson said 'hands down, it's got to be chocolate'
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3. Ciara confesses that her secret pleasure is watching 'America's Next Top Model'
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4. Gabrielle Union confesses that she loves Taco Bell!
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5. Beyonce is a proud Popeyes chicken fanatic.
Source:Beyonce Facebook Page
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6. Tatyana Ali confesses she loves bread pudding with chocolate and one night stands. Okay, she grown!
Source:Tatyana Ali Instagram
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7. Taraji P. Henson says she exercises so she can eat whatever she's feelin' and there's a long list: Cheesecake, Oreos, Cheetos, Crispy Creme Donuts, Mac & Cheese, Red Velvet Cake, Gummy Bears, peach cobbler ala mode and fully loaded baked potato. Taraji, We LOVE You!
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8. Bobby Brown confesses he loves chocolate and fried chicken.
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9. Lala Anthony loves chocolate and Keeping Up with The Kardashians!
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10. Alicia Keys admits bread is her guilty pleasure (at least with some butter?)
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11. Sherri Shepherd loves the TV shows Revenge and Boardwalk Empire, M&M's, and scallops wrapped in bacon.
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12. President Barack Obama likes Roscoe's Chicken n' Waffles so much the restaurant renamed "The Country Boy" in his honor.
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13. Janet Jackson's guilty pleasure is caramel apples.
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14. Sanaa Lathan says her guilty pleasure is jumping on a mini trampoline each day. Girl, no reason to feel guilty about that!
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15. Lil Wayne's guilty pleasure turned into a passion . . . skateboarding.
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16. Stevie Wonder said his guilty pleasure is surely anything sweet, however, he is trying to have a healthier lifestyle so tryin' to give them up.
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17. Oprah Winfrey admits that her current guily pleasure is Fifty Shades of Grey
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18. Rickey Smiley loves mini Reeses Cups & mini Snickers and mini Mountain Dews (straight from the fridge).
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19. Porsha Williams admits she loves the ID channel. This explains where she got her moves during the fight!
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20. Willow Smith loves Tyler the Creator!
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21. Arsenio Hall says his guilty pleasure is any show that begins with the word Reality. Loves them all.
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22. Octavia Spencer says she loves salty snacks such as popcorn and for her guilty pleasure entree . . . that would be meatloaf.
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23. Tyrese confesses his guilty pleasure is a Twix bar before bed.
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24. Anthony Anderson said his guilty pleasure is chocolate covered cherries.
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25. Naya Rivera - confesses she loves reality television.
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26. Nick Cannon admits he loves Kung-Fu movies.
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27. Michael Ealy confesses his guilty pleasure is watching 'Ice Loves Coco'
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28. Ludacris says his guilty pleasure is his iPhone & playing Words with Friends.
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29. Kelly Rowland says currently her guilty pleasure is the reality show 'The Braxtons'.
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30. Nicole Richie & Joel Madden share a guily pleasure . . . Johnny Rockets.
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31. Paula Abdul loves the show Duck Dynasty!
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32. Jordin Sparks loves toffee and can eat a whole bag.
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33. Chris Noth says his guilty pleasure is Wine! Hey, mine too.
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34. Mariah Carey loves pizza.
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35. Rihanna loves microwave buttered popcorn and Jamaican food.
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36. Sofia Vergara can't get enough of her sweet sugary lollipops. I can't read this without using her accent!
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37. Tristan Wilds says he loves cartoons especially Family Guy and the Boondocks.
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38. Nicole Scherzinger loves to indulge in heavy Hawaiian food.
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39. Oprah loves Grey's Anatomy. She watched the entire 1st season one Saturday.
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40. Heidi Klum has a weakness for junk food! Especially french fries.
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41. Kim Kardashian craves her Pinkberry yogurt and botox (just kidding about the botox).
Source:Kim Kardashian Instagram
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42. Holly Robinson Peete's guilty pleasure is an entire day at the spa!
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43. Kevin Hart loves all the Housewives shows.
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44. Brandy confesses that Krispy Creme Donuts and Love & Hip Hop are her guilty pleasures.
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45. First Lady Michelle Obama says that she likes to click through design & food shows.
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