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'Racist' LA Clippers owner approves sale of team

SOLD: LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling has agreed to sell the team after mammoth race storm

THE OWNER of the Los Angeles Clippers who was branded a 'racist' after comments he made about black people attending his games were leaked to the press, has agreed to sell the team after 33 years of ownership.

The deal between Sterling and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion brings the possibility of a resolution to weeks of rumors, uncertainty and looming possibilities for legal action.

Though the agreement hadn't been officially signed on Wednesday afternoon (June 4), according to an individual with knowledge of the negotiations, Donald Sterling's attorney Maxwell Blecher said he "has made an agreement with the NBA to resolve all their differences," writes the Associated Press

Sterling gave his consent to a deal that was negotiated by his ex-wife Shelly Sterling, a trustee, to sell the team, Blecher said.

The 80-year-old was banned for life from the NBA and fined $2.5 million (£1.5m) by the league, which is the maximum amount, for the comments he made to his girlfriend V. Stiviano about her taking pictures of herself with black people and bringing them to games.

In the recording, which was posted online by website TMZ, he is heard telling Stiviano that she should not associate with black people or invite them to his games. He is also heard to single out former NBA star Magic Johnson as an example.

His comments resulted in a storm of outrage from the public and players and even prompted President Barack Obama to comment on what he called Sterling's "incredibly offensive racist statements."

Sterling has admitted it was his voice on the recording, but claimed the views expressed do not reflect his own.

Former Microsoft Corp CEO Steve Ballmer last week signed a contract to buy the professional basketball team for $2 billion. Sterling’s ex-wife Shelly Sterling, trustee of the team, brokered the agreement. Shelly Sterling also reportedly had indemnified the league against further legal action in the case.

It is reported to be the highest price ever paid for an NBA team. Clippers owner Donald Sterling paid $12.5 million in 1981 for the then-San Diego Clippers.

Three quarters of the league’s 29 owners must still approve the sale to Ballmer.

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