Shelly Sterling+Donald Sterling

Clippers owner Donald Sterling, right, believes he could have gotten even more than $2 billion for the team if he negotiated the franchise’s sale instead of his wife, Shelly Sterling, his lawyer said. (Andrew D. Bernstein / Getty Images; Danny Moloshok / Associated Press)

James Rainey, Nathan Fenno
June 3, 2014

Donald Sterling remains holed up in his Beverly Hills mansion, ostracized by many, banned by the NBA and yet quietly pleased that his Los Angeles Clippers last week fetched a record sales price of $2 billion.

Sterling believes that if he had conducted the sale, instead of his wife Shelly, he might have pushed the price even higher, his lawyer, Max Blecher, said Tuesday. But Sterling’s real concern — one that might still send him to court in an attempt to block the jaw-dropping deal — is that the windfall does nothing to mend his wounded reputation.

“He doesn’t want to die and have his tombstone say, ‘Here lies a mental incompetent and a racist,’” Blecher said. “He is trying to do the best he can to see whether those stigmas can be eliminated or at least reduced. . . . That is what this is about.”

Sterling filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against the NBA on Friday that became largely moot when the pro basketball league quickly accepted an agreement from the Sterling Family Trust to sell the team to former Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer. The NBA then canceled a hearing that had been scheduled Tuesday and was designed to remove the Sterlings as owners of the Clippers.

But Donald Sterling is considering suing his wife of 58 years, who asserted sole control of the family trust after doctors determined he was no longer able to conduct his own business affairs. She sold the team without her husband’s involvement.

Blecher disputed the doctors’ findings, saying his client was “functioning perfectly well.”

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