Basketball / Sports

Steve Ballmer is officially new owner of Clippers, NBA says

LOS ANGELES -- The NBA announced that Steve Ballmer's $2 billion purchase of the Clippers had closed on Tuesday, making the former Microsoft CEO the undisputed owner of the team.

The transaction ends a fractious period of nearly four months in which embattled owner Donald Sterling fought to retain control of the team he had presided over for three decades. A judge affirmed the right of Shelly Sterling, Donald's estranged wife, to wrest control of the team from her husband and sell it to Ballmer.

"I am humbled and honored to be the new owner of the Los Angeles Clippers," Ballmer said in a statement. "Clipper fans are so amazing. They have remained fiercely loyal to our franchise through some extraordinary times. I will be hard core in giving the team, our great coach, staff and players the support they need to do their best work on the court. And we will do whatever necessary to provide our fans and their families with the best game-night experience in the NBA."

The league's board of governors previously approved the sale of the team to Ballmer, who will meet with fans during a festival at Staples Center at 12:30 p.m. Monday.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Donald Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million in late April after a tape recording emerged in which Sterling made derogatory comments about blacks. Sterling, 80, sued the league, but his efforts to keep the Clippers failed after Shelly Sterling removed her husband from the family trust because of mental incapacitation.

"This is an amazing new day in Clippers history," Clippers President of Basketball Operations and Coach Doc Rivers said in a statement. "I couldn't be more excited to work together with Steve as we continue to build a first-class, championship organization. I am already inspired by Steve's passion for the game, his love of competition and desire to win the right way and I know our players and fans are going to be inspired as well."

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