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Donald Sterling sues NBA for over $1 billion

Donald Sterling is not out the door quite yet
Donald Sterling
The Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling attends a game in 2008 in Los Angeles, California.

Donald Sterling is not out the door quite yet.

The Los Angeles Clippers owner filed a complaint Friday against the National Basketball League [PDF] for breach of contract, antitrust and other violations, seeking damages in excess of $1 billion, plus additional damages.

The NBA banned Sterling from the league for life and fined him $2.5 million after a recording released in April captured him making racist remarks about African-Americans. In its next step, the NBA Board of Governors, comprised of the 29 teams’ owners, are beginning proceedings to strip Sterling and his wife’s ownership of the Clippers. The league scheduled a hearing for June 3, when three-fourths of owners must vote to force Sterling out.

But late Friday night, the Sterling family trust reached a deal to sell the L.A. team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for a record $2 billion. The sale must still be approved by the NBA, which said it was awaiting necessary documents on the deal before moving forward.

Sterling’s estranged wife and Clippers co-owner, Shelly Sterling, was behind the sale, but details of his position on the sale remain unclear.

According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, Shelly Sterling was granted the right to sell the Clippers after experts declared her husband “mentally incapacitated.” Under terms of the family trust, the diagnosis would allegedly make Shelly Sterling the sole trustee and allowed to negotiate with Ballmer.

Donald Sterling’s lawyer however refuted the claims, telling Shelburne in an email that the 80-year-old was “far from mentally incompetent.

Sterling is the longest standing team owner in the NBA after he bought the Clippers in 1981 for $12 million. He is worth roughly $1.9 billion, according to Forbes.