Thursday's news that Shelly Sterling accepted Steve Ballmer's record $2-billion bid to purchase the Clippers is the latest twist in a weeks-long saga. What started with a recording of Donald Sterling and a female companion last fall spiraled into a public spectacle that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called an "unprecedented" crisis for the league. It ended — maybe — with the Sterlings moving toward surrendering the team, purchased in 1981, that Donald Sterling previously insisted he'd never sell.
Sept. 12, 2013: V. Stiviano uses her iPhone to record a heated discussion with Donald Sterling at her home where he makes inflammatory comments about African Americans.
April 9: Stiviano texts the recording to an unnamed Clippers employee. One of Stiviano's text messages in the exchange reads, "Let the games began[sic]." Team President Andy Roeser is notified of the recording and informs Sterling.
Between April 9-25: After Roeser discusses the matter with Sterling, Roeser requests the employee erase the recording and associated text messages from their phone, according to the NBA investigation.
April 23: A TMZ reporter contacts the Clippers for comment about the Sterling recording.
April 24: Clippers chief spokesman Seth Burton suggests Roeser contact the NBA about the recording, the NBA investigation claimed. Roeser said not to contact the league.
April 25: TMZ publishes the tape late in the day.
April 26: A Clippers employee told the investigator retained by the NBA that the employee spent much of the day in a San Francisco hotel room with Donald and Shelly Sterling. Both took an active role in "reviewing and revising" a statement released later that day questioning the recording's veracity.
April 26: Two hours after the statement's release, the NBA's investigator interviews Donald Sterling by telephone.
April 26: In response to the recording, Clippers Coach Doc Rivers says, "I think the biggest statement we can make as men — not as black men, as men — is to stick together and show how strong we are as a group, not splinter, not walk."
April 27: During a news conference in Malaysia, President Obama calls Sterling's comments on the recording "incredibly offensive."
April 28: More than a dozen Clippers sponsors suspend or cancel their relationship with the franchise.
April 28: Stiviano is interviewed by the investigator in Los Angeles.
April 28: Through attorney Bob Platt, Donald Sterling declines an in-person interview with the investigator.
April 28: Roeser is interviewed by the investigator at the Clippers facility.
April 28: In a telephone interview with the investigator, Shelly Sterling confirms her husband's voice on the recording.
April 29: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver bans Sterling for life, fines him $2.5 million and announces plans to pursue termination of his ownership.
April 30: In a telephone conversation, Donald Sterling tells Silver that he understood the need for the penalties but that "there's nothing in the recording that's bad."
May 2: Before Stiviano's interview with ABC's Barbara Walters, Sterling asks Stiviano to lie to the NBA about the recording and say she altered it, the league's investigation said.
From May 5-15: Twenty Clippers employees are interviewed in person and by telephone as part of the NBA investigation.
May 6: Roeser, part of the franchise since 1984, is placed on indefinite leave of absence by Silver.
May 8: In a statement, Shelly Sterling says she wants to keep her 50% stake in the Clippers for life, but welcomes a new owner to replace her husband.
May 10: Dick Parsons, former Citigroup and Time Warner chairman, is named interim chief executive of Clippers.
May 11: Shelly Sterling tells ABC's Barbara Walters that she plans to divorce her husband and has no intention of surrendering her stake in the Clippers.
May 12: Donald Sterling apologizes for his recorded comments, but criticizes Magic Johnson and the community involvement of African Americans in a televised interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper.
May 13: In an interview on the "Today" show, Shelly Sterling says she believes her husband has dementia.
May 15: The Clippers' season ends with a 104-98 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference semifinals.
May 19: NBA files formal charges against Donald Sterling to start the process to terminate ownership of the team. The franchise is jointly owned by both Sterlings through the Sterling Family Trust; the league's documents make clear it wants an entirely new ownership group. The league's report, later obtained by The Times, disputes that the Sterlings are "estranged." A June 3 hearing in New York is set for league owners to vote on termination.
May 19: The NBA rejects a request by Donald Sterling's attorneys to delay the termination proceedings three months.
May 20: Silver says in a news conference, "We know we're doing the right thing and I know I have the owners behind me."
May 23: Changing strategy, the Sterlings plan to shift full ownership of the Clippers to Shelly Sterling, who would pursue a sale. Such a move needs the NBA's approval. In a statement, the NBA says it plans to proceed with the June 3 hearing.
May 27: In a 30-page response to NBA's charges, Donald Sterling describes the league's termination process as "illegal" and says he has offers "in excess of $2.5 billion" for the franchise.
May 28: At least three bids to purchase the Clippers are received by a group fronted by Shelly Sterling, as the first round of bidding closes. She appeared to drop her plan to maintain a stake in the team. But in a reversal, Donald Sterling, who previously agreed to let his wife sell the team, says through an attorney that he plans to fight the NBA's termination effort.
May 29: Steve Ballmer, the former Microsoft CEO, wins the bidding orchestrated by Shelly Sterling. Meanwhile, an attorney for Donald Sterling's lawyer says he doesn't believe his client will sell the franchise.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times