Donald Sterling Rumors
The NBA didn’t become a billionaire’s ball until April of 2014, when former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer paid $2 billion for the Clippers after Donald Sterling’s forced exit. Everyone in league circles knew the massive TV deal was coming by then, and so this became a costly risk worth taking. Fertitta’s record price was eclipsed in October, when Alibaba co-founder Joseph Tsai bought 49% of the Brooklyn Nets at a valuation of $2.3 billion (according to ESPN, he has an option to acquire controlling interest in 2021). “We were hell-bent that we weren’t going to lose (the bidding) this time,” Fertitta said. “But you can’t make somebody sell something to you if they don’t want to sell it. But all we could do is shoot every bullet we could, and I think Tad, you know we did – a lot more than anybody else.”
How do you reflect on the banning of former Clippers owner Donald Sterling? Was the situation hurtful, stressful? (Sterling was banned from the NBA for life, fined $2.5 million and forced to sell the Clippers after his racist remarks caused a firestorm during the 2014 playoffs.) Blake Griffin: We all knew. Everybody always knew. It seems more that you had to wait for something to happen in order for something else to happen, if you know what I mean? In a way, you’re thankful for those opportunities because it brought on change. It certainly wasn’t the first of the dominos to fall. But I think there has been a trend, and we have seen this, or the past however many years of people not being able to keep that stuff covered up. That s— comes out sooner or later.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently or wish your entire team had done differently on Sterling? Blake Griffin: I am happy about how we handled it because we did it as a team and we did it together. We made a stand. I think we were all kind of worried. We didn’t know what to say. It was also in the playoffs, and we didn’t want to say anything that would disrupt that or say anything that was too crazy. I appreciated teammates always thinking in those terms, but we could have been more outspoken. But I think we did it as a team, and when you do things together as a team that it makes the biggest impact.
JAY-Z Yeah, there was a great Kanye West line in one of [his] songs: “Racism’s still alive, they just be concealin’ it.” [“Never Let Me Down,” from West’s 2004 album, “The College Dropout.”] Take a step back. I think when Donald Sterling3 got kicked out of the N.B.A., I thought it was a misstep, because when you kick someone out, of course he’s done wrong, right? But you also send everyone else back in hiding. People talk like that. They talk like that. Let’s deal with that. I wouldn’t just, like, leave him alone. It should have been some sort of penalties. He could have lost some draft picks. But getting rid of him just made everyone else go back into hiding, and now we can’t have the dialogue. The great thing about Donald Trump being president is now we’re forced to have the dialogue. Now we’re having the conversation on the large scale; he’s provided the platform for us to have the conversation.
Redden worked with Winger in Cleveland, where he rose in the executive ranks as a well-regarded talent evaluator who worked under Danny Ferry, Chris Grant and Griffin. He will complement Winger, who has established a reputation as an expert strategist with a steady administrative hand and strong negotiating skills. For years, the Clippers had among the thinnest staffs in the NBA under the thrifty ownership of Donald Sterling. Since the arrival of Steve Ballmer in 2014, the franchise has grown into a robust organization with a basketball operations department that has expanded exponentially in size. Sources say the team has plans to add another assistant general manager to its brain trust.
The 83-year-old Sterling at first hesitated to speak to a reporter, as the anniversary of the $2 billion sale of the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer approaches on May 29. But he eventually agreed to be interviewed, saying he wants the world to know that he has moved beyond the battles of the past. “I am as happy as I have ever been. I am as comfortable as I have ever been,” Sterling said. “And I don’t want to do anything to disturb that.”
Shelly Sterling, also 83, said in a separate interview that she has not let go of at least one formal blot that remains on Sterling’s record: the lifetime ban from the NBA that was imposed on the long-time Clippers owner after his racist remarks against African-Americans attending games.