Did Donald Sterling Alzheimer’s Diagnosis Lead To Clippers Sale?

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Donald Sterling’s wife, Shelly Sterling, had him declared mentally unfit after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, enabling her to push through former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s $2 billion offer to buy the Los Angeles Clippers, TMZ reported Friday.

The family trust that governs the Sterlings’ ownership of the Clippers basketball team includes a clause that stipulates that if either one of them shows “an inability to conduct business affairs in a reasonable and normal manner,” they will be forced to cede control over the team.

Donald Sterling’s two prominent doctors concluded that he suffered from Alzheimer’s after performing a battery of tests, including CT and PET scans, and noted that he may have had the disease for as long as 5 years. With her husband declared mentally incapacitated, Shelly Sterling became the sole trustee.

In a news release, Shelly Sterling said, “I am delighted that we are selling the team to Steve [Ballmer], who will be a terrific owner. 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.”

“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.”

The Clippers came up for sale after the NBA banned owner Donald Sterling for life because of racist remarks he made in a recorded conversation that was leaked last month to TMZ.

Written by

Sigal Samuel

Sigal Samuel

Sigal Samuel is the Forward’s deputy digital media editor. When she’s not writing for the opinion section, she’s hunting down her Indian Jewish family’s kabbalistic secret societies . Her novel “The Mystics of Mile End,” available in Canada and forthcoming in the U.S. , tells the story of a dysfunctional family with a dangerous mystical obsession. Her writing has also appeared in The Daily Beast , The Rumpus , BuzzFeed , Tablet and The Walrus , among others. Contact Sigal at samuel@forward.com, or follow her on Twitter at @SigalSamuel .

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Did Donald Sterling Alzheimer’s Diagnosis Lead To Clippers Sale?

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