It seems that everyone wanted Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling to sell the team, after his racist remarks about Magic Johnson and African Americans became public knowledge. The NBA Commissioner, owners, players, Clipper fans, and Sterling’s own family did everything in their power to force him out. Last week, the news broke that Sterling’s estranged wife, Shelly Sterling, reportedly accomplished what everyone wanted — an agreement has been reached for the Clippers to be sold for a reported $2 billion dollars to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
But how did Shelly manage to do this without going to court — which would undoubtedly air Sterling family dirty laundry that no one in the Sterling family or the NBA would want to see made public?
Reportedly, Shelly Sterling relied on a fairly standard provision in the Sterling family trust, which owns and controls the Sterling’s interest in the Clippers. According to ESPN and others, Shelly and Donald were co-trustees with equal authority over their trust. This gave them equal say in running the Clippers, including when to sell the franchise. But, after the recent events, Shelly had her husband evaluated by doctors to determine if he was mentally competent to remain serving as one of the co-trustees.