(JTA) — Former Microsoft Corp CEO Steve Ballmer has signed a contract to buy the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion.
Ballmer signed the binding contract with team trustee Shelly Sterling, she announced Friday. The agreement must be approved by the National Basketball Association’s Board of Governors.
“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. “And I intend to do everything in my power to ensure that the Clippers continue to win — and win big — in Los Angeles.”
It is reported to be the highest price ever paid for an NBA team. Clippers owner Donald Sterling paid $12.5 million in 1981 for the then-San Diego Clippers.
The NBA moved to strip Clippers owner Donald Sterling, 80, a lawyer and billionaire real estate investor, of his rights to the team after he was recorded making racist comments to his girlfriend and the recording was broadcast on the website TMZ.
Donald Sterling is fighting a $2.5 million fine and the lifetime ban imposed by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. On Saturday he filed a lawsuit in federal court in Los Angeles against the NBA and Silver, seeking more than $1 billion in damages, claiming the NBA violated his constitutional rights by banning him from the NBA for life, fining him and working to strip him of ownership of the team on the basis of a conversation he said was illegally recorded.
In the recorded conversation and in subsequent interviews, Sterling has mentioned Jewish issues. In a recent interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, he criticized wealthy African Americans for not being as generous as American Jews and praised Jews for establishing Hebrew free loan societies.
Donald Sterling reportedly was stripped of his trusteeship of the team after two neurologists determined he is mentally incapacitated due to dementia. Shelly Sterling reportedly has also agreed to indemnify the NBA against lawsuits by Donald Sterling, Bloomberg reported.