Donald may not be the only member of the Sterling family that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will have to contend with as he pushes for a sale of the Los Angeles Clippers. Shelly Sterling, the estranged wife of Donald and a co-owner of the Clippers, is prepared to fight to retain ownership of the team.
“I have been co-owner since 1981,” Shelly Sterling said in a statement obtained by the Orange County Register on Wednesday. “During those 33 years, I have been a diehard fan even when the team was in the basement of the league. Now that all of our hard work is paying off, I want to celebrate the success that we are finally achieving.”
Not simply content to celebrate the successes of the Clippers in the 2014 NBA Playoffs, Shelly Sterling wants to continue owning the franchise, according to her attorney. Attorney Pierce O'Donnell told The Associated Press on Thursday that Shelly Sterling will fight to retain her 50 percent ownership stake in the Clippers.
"She will not agree to a forced or involuntary seizure of her interest," O'Donnell said. "As her lawyers we will fight vigorously to defend her property rights."
Silver levied a lifetime ban and a $2.5 million fine against Donald Sterling after a recording of his racist remarks became public in April. Silver also announced during a press conference that he would be urging the league's other owners to force a sale of the Clippers. While Donald Sterling has been out of sight since Silver levied the historic punishment, Shelly Sterling has been a controversial presence at Clippers games. According to O'Donnell, Mrs. Sterling "abhors" the comments made by her husband and has been cooperating with the NBA.
"Commissioner Silver made it clear, that when he announced sanctions against Donald, that the NBA was taking no action against me or my family," Shelly said in a statement given to ESPN on Wednesday.
With the Sterlings possibly readying for a legal battle, the NBA owners on the league's advisory/finance committee held a conference call on Wednesday to further discuss the process of forcing a sale of the Clippers.