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Steve Ballmer emerges as the winner of bidding war for the L.A. Clippers

New Owner of the Los Angeles Clippers
New Owner of the Los Angeles Clippers
Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images

The sale of the Los Angeles Clippers has moved at a rapid pace. Shelly Sterling announced on Thursday May 29, 2014 that she signed a binding contract for the sale of the Clippers by the Sterling family trust to Steve Ballmer. A done deal according to the Los Angeles Times. This sale blows the athletes are overpaid argument out of the water.

It took Donald Sterling four days to get banned from the NBA and it took Shelly Sterling about four days to sale the team. Speaking of things happening fast it is worth noting that the Clippers were up 101-88 with four minutes to go and 104-97 with 49 seconds on the clock before bowing out. Former CEO of Microsoft Steve Ballmer submitted the winning bid for a ridiculous $2 Billion.

Buying the Clippers will place Ballmer in position to influence other NBA Owners about expansion and as a silver lining Seattle. There are several mixed signals here of course; Shelly Sterling authorized by Donald Sterling to sale the team and apparently has done so. I know what you're thinking; how is a franchise that has never advanced to the Western Conference Finals and could not sell out games before 2011 be worth a staggering $2 Billion? The value is not what someone thinks it is worth, it is what someone will pay for it!

Donald Sterling purchased the Clippers for $12.5 million in 1981 and is known for NOT selling anything, the idea of him selling the team seemed odd or yet another stall tactic to prolong the inevitable. Donald Sterling has always wanted to put up a fight and take every matter to court and this matter is no different despite polls out that list him as one of the most hated men in the country. There are those that will argue that regardless of how despicable Donald Sterling's acts are that he did not break any laws. Donald Sterling violated the NBA constitution and the agreement that he signed stating that he would not do anything to sully the NBA brand. Sterling's' acts have obviously affected the NBA's bottom line.

There are several legal ramifications in play, "California's wiretapping law" (see Flanagan v. Flanagan) for instance which is a two-party consent law. However, the NBA headquarters at the Olympic Tower l 645 Fifth Avenue 19th Floor New York City, New York 10022 is Midtown Manhattan. It appears that New York law applies to the NBA "Constitution". Donald Sterling has contractually waived his right to pursue this matter in court.

He is bound by what is essentially a private arbitration procedure. Unless a court finds the NBA's contract with Donald Sterling is wholly or partially invalid and his waiver therefore also invalid (which his lawyers will strenuously argue) the NBA's decision will be almost impossible to get overturned in court absence a showing of clear corruption or fraud. The NBA, Fraternity or any private group has the right to say "we no longer want to associate with you" and cancel your membership.

The individual being banished has to accept being banished, take their marbles and go home. It appears that Donald Sterling has a better case against V. Stiviano than the NBA. There are those that will see the NBA punishing Donald Sterling by doubling his net worth. Then there are the realist that will state the obvious; $2 billion on a $12.5 million investment. What took so long!

The NBA Board of Governors'' meeting to remove Donald Sterling from the league is still scheduled for Tuesday June 3, 2014. The NBA would love to have two big money teams in Los Angeles. So what does a Billion dollars buy? A Maybach Landaulet cost $1 million. 1 billion will buy 1,000. Suites at luxury hotels such as the Mardan Palace Hotel in Turkey, Burj Al Arab in Dubai, United Arab Emirates cost as much as $20,000 - $30,000 per night. A billion dollars will buy you a $20,000 room every night for 137 years.

The Le Grand Bleu, one of the largest private yachts in the world, costs $90 million. Some yachts cost as much as $200 million or more. You can buy ten $100 million yachts with a billion dollars. The Gulfstream G550, a business Jet aircraft, cost $40 million for the base model. $60 million will buy you the top-of-the-line model with every amenity. A billion dollars will buy you 25 of these.

A private island costs $24.5 million; your investment can multiple several times by developing said island into a tourist location. You can buy 40 of these with a billion dollars. Closer to home; you may desire a $8 million property in one of Los Angeles affluent locations such as Beverly Hills Post Office, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Bel-Air, Hollywood Hills, Holmby Hills, Hancock Park, Sunset Strip, Studio City, Manhattan Beach or Palos Verdes. You can buy 125 houses in any of these areas for $1 billion.

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