Donald Sterling still plans to sue the NBA

Clippers owner Donald Sterling is having second thoughts about going through with the Clippers sale as long as the NBA bans him for life.
(Danny Moloshok / Associated Press)

Donald Sterling plans to still sue the NBA, according to a statement released by his attorney Monday.

“The action taken by [NBA Commissioner] Adam Silver and the NBA constitutes a violation of my rights and fly in the face of the freedoms that are afforded to all Americans,” Sterling said through attorney Bobby Samini. “I have decided that I must fight to protect my rights. While my position may not be popular, I believe that my rights to privacy and the preservation of my rights to due process should not be trampled.”

While Sterling may be ready to continue to press his case against the NBA, including a $1-billion lawsuit he filed two weeks ago, his wife, Shelly, can also go to court in an attempt to clarify her right to control the team and its sale to Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.

Shelly Sterling had previously become the sole trustee after her lawyers sent a letter to Donald Sterling on May 29, informing him that she was in charge because of his inability to conduct business affairs.

While it is not required in the terms of the trust, Shelly Sterling could go to court to try to get a judge to validate her position. That would prevent another 11th-hour challenge from her husband.


In such a court action, Shelly Sterling would presumably bring forward the brain scans that her husband submitted to as well as reports written by the pair of neurologists.

People familiar with the bidding for the Clippers, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter, said Donald Sterling’s topsy-turvy behavior in regard to the sale also could be presented as evidence.

After signing a letter May 22 saying he gave his wife the right to negotiate a sale of the Clippers, including his 50% interest, Sterling later said he only meant for her to negotiate, not complete a deal.

Then, last week, Sterling sent signals that he was at peace with the transaction and would let it go through, even issuing a statement through Samini saying he would not continue his fight.

A different attorney for Donald Sterling later said that Sterling believed the NBA would drop its $2.5-million fine and lifetime ban against him, something the league said it never agreed to do. When Sterling learned that the fine and ban remained in place, his camp again gave combative signals.

Monday’s statement from Samini was the latest sign that Donald Sterling was not ready to give up the team he has owned for 33 years.