Donald Sterling Sues NBA for $1 Billion

After being forced to relinquish control of the Los Angeles Clippers, embattled owner Donald Sterling filed a lawsuit Friday seeking $1 billion in damages from the NBA.

The complaint, which was filed in federal district court in California, assailed league commissioner Adam Silver. Silver fined Sterling $2.5 million and sought to ban him for life from the NBA after Sterling told an ex-girlfriend not to bring black people to Clippers games.

A recording of the conversation was posted on the website TMZ.

The complaint called the recording “illicit,” and said that Silver’s response to it was “draconian.”

“The NBA has left Sterling no alternative but to file this Complaint,” the suit claims.


In addition to damages, Sterling is seeking to reverse the lifetime ban, eliminate the fine and reinstate Clippers CEO Andy Roeser, who took an indefinite leave of absence after the controversy erupted.

Sterling and his wife, Shelly, owned the team jointly through a trust. On Friday afternoon, the NBA, which had sought to terminate the Sterlings’ ownership of the team, agreed to withdraw that effort if the Clippers will be sold to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and if the couple does not sue the league. The agreement was contingent on indemnification against future lawsuits, including those filed by Donald Sterling.

Shelly Sterling negotiated the deal.

The back-and-forth comes after Ballmer agreed to buy the Clippers for a league-high $2 billion. The NBA Board of Governors is reviewing the sale.

Ballmer negotiated the purchase with Shelly Sterling. ESPN reported Thursday that Shelly was granted the authority to sell the team after experts declared Donald mentally incapacitated.

—Tim Stelloh