The Los Angeles Clippers team may have a new owner in former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
The NBA has approved the $2 billion bid by Ballmer, the 58-year-old who ranks 32nd on the Forbes magazine's 400 list. While ESPN reports that the NBA has approved, the league owners have to approve the sale before it can be finalized.
Donald Sterling, the 80-year-old Jewish lawyer, real estate investor and previous owner of the Clippers, was banned for life from NBA proceedings by NBA commissioner Adam Silver last April. After TMZ released audio of Sterling telling his alleged mistress V. Stiviano not to associate with black people, Silver fined him $2.5 million and said he was working to overthrow his position with a 75 percent vote from other NBA team owners.
Since then, Sterling handed the team over to his wife, Shelly, and vowed to sue the NBA for a $1 billion lawsuit. However after the tentative agreement was made with Ballmer, Shelly and the Sterling family have agreed to "absolve the league of litigation," ESPN reports.
Mrs. Sterling expressed her approval of Ballmer as the next owner of the Clippers.
"I am delighted that we are selling the team to Steve, who will be a terrific owner," Shelly said in a statement, according to RumorFix. "We have worked for 33 years to build the Clippers into a premiere NBA franchise. I am confident that Steve will take the team to new levels of success."
Ballmer also seemed excited about the possibility to become a part of the Clippers' organization.
"I will be honored to have my name submitted to the NBA Board of Governors for approval as the next owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. I love basketball," Ballmer said in a statement obtained by Rumor Fix. "And I intend to do everything in my power to ensure that the Clippers continue to win – and win big – in Los Angeles. 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 also expressed his gratitude to Shelly and the NBA.
"I thank Shelly Sterling for her willingness to entrust the Clippers franchise to me, and I am grateful to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and his colleagues for working collaboratively with me throughout this process," Ballmer said.