The Los Angeles Clippers' unusual situation appears to be nearing its conclusion after representatives of Shelly Sterling released a statement late Thursday night confirming the sale of the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion. Via the Los Angeles Times:
"I am delighted that we are selling the team to Steve, who will be a terrific owner. We have worked for 33 years to build the Clippers into a premiere NBA franchise. I am confident that Steve will take the team to new levels of success."
On Thursday, reports emerged that Sterling had agreed to sell the family to Ballmer, but speculation surrounded a possible response from Donald Sterling and his lawyers. However, medical experts recently deemed the 80-year-old to be "mentally incapacitated," leaving Shelly as the sole trustee of the franchise.
That development gave Sterling's estranged wife the ability to sell the team without his permission, which apparently led to the quick deal with Ballmer and his group. Ballmer, who said he's "honored to have my name submitted to the NBA Board of Governors," for ownership approval, also offered an extended statement in the release:
"I love basketball. And I intend to do everything in my power to ensure that the Clippers continue to win -- and win big -- in Los Angeles. L.A. is one of the world’s great cities -- a city that embraces inclusiveness, in exactly the same way that the NBA and I embrace inclusiveness. I am confident that the Clippers will in the coming years become an even bigger part of the community."
That would seem to remove even the most remote possibilities of Ballmer, who leaves near Seattle, attempting to move the team to reestablish the Supersonics. There was some brief speculation that he might try to pull such a move, but obviously there's no need to take a franchise out of one of America's biggest markets.
Ballmer, reportedly worth $20 billion according to Forbes, retired from his longtime position at Microsoft earlier this year. For more on the Clippers' new owner, check out this breakdown of Ballmer, his association with a global computer technology behemoth and his love of basketball.