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A still fuming Donald Sterling vowed before a probate court judge on Wednesday that he will never sell the Los Angeles Clippers and that he will drag the NBA through a “lifetime” of lawsuits if he’s legally ordered to do so.
Testifying on the second day of what is expected to be a four-day hearing to determine if estranged wife Shelly Sterling was within her legal rights to sell the team to former Microsoft tech executive Steve Ballmer for $2 billion earlier this year, Sterling defiantly added “make no mistake, I will never, ever sell this team and until I die I will be suing the NBA for this terrible violation under antitrust.”
The league’s longest tenured owner was banned for life from the NBA and fined $2.5 million earlier this year after a tape of him admonishing then-girlfriend V. Stiviano “not to bring black people to my games” was made public. The 80-year-old Sterling was also once sued by NBA Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor, who served as the Clippers longtime GM, for race discrimination.
ESPN.com reports Sterling was followed to the stand by his wife, whom he greeted with the taunt “get away from me you pig.”
Earlier Sterling told the court he still loved his wife, but felt she tricked him into selling the team by telling him the psychiatric and neurological exams she arranged for him to undergo were only based on concerns about his health, not the basis for her to establish questions about his mental capacity that would ultimately allow her to orchestrate the sale of the team.
“She deceived me. I trusted her,” he said. “I never thought a wife wouldn’t stand for her husband.”
Still, Sterling reserved his harshest criticisms for the NBA, testifying league officials, more or less, bullied Shelly Sterling into agreeing to relinquish the team the family has owned since 1981.
“My wife was terrified,” he said. “She’s frightened to death. She thinks the NBA will take away everything she worked for. She was scared out of her mind.”
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