Combative Sterling says NBA's Clippers worth more than $2 billion

Tue Jul 8, 2014 10:19pm EDT
 
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By Eric Kelsey

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Los Angeles Clippers co-owner Donald Sterling on Tuesday sparred with his estranged wife's attorney at a trial over the $2 billion sale of the NBA franchise, interrupting and shouting during testimony and saying he wants to keep the team for financial reasons.

    The 80-year-old real estate billionaire, who has been deemed by physicians to have Alzheimer's disease and is unable to handle business affairs, said he was blocking the sale brokered by his wife to former Microsoft Corp Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer because he believed the team's value could be more than double.

"I think we can get somewhere between $2.5 to $5 billion for that team," Sterling said, adding that rising television and media rights made the team more valuable to keep.

It is the first time Sterling has spoken publicly since a televised interview in May shortly after he was banned from the NBA for life for taped racist remarks that were made public.

Sterling had difficulty recalling dates and remembering past statements a day after he failed to appear when called to take the stand. He fought with celebrity attorney Bert Fields, repeatedly asking the lawyer his name.

An agitated Sterling, who often disputed Fields's questions, snapped at the lawyer: "Tell me if that's relevant, if you're not trying to be a smart ass."

"I think it showed you what this man is really like," Fields said outside court. "It showed you the enormous hypocrisy of this guy, who will spout all these things about how he loves his wife, but he's suing her."

Shelly Sterling, 79, has asked Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas to confirm her as the sole trustee of the family trust that owns the Clippers and to back the NBA-record deal.   Continued...

 
Shelly Sterling, 79, arrives at court in Los Angeles, California July 8, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson