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LA Clippers Sold To Ex-Microsoft CEO Ballmer


NPR's Business News starts with a big sale in LA. The Los Angeles Clippers are officially under new ownership. After months of legal battling, a California court approved the sale of the NBA franchise to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion, which is a record. NPR's Nathan Rott reports.

NATHAN ROTT, BYLINE: Shelly Sterling, the estranged wife of now former Clippers owner Donald Sterling, had been trying to sell the team for weeks. Tuesday morning, a California Superior Court judge confirmed her authority to do so. Steve Ballmer's lawyer, Adam Streisand, says when he learned the news in the LA courtroom, he immediately emailed the NBA and representatives for Sterling and Ballmer.

ADAM STREISAND: In all caps, close now.

ROTT: Assurances were made, the money was transferred, the deal was done - followed by...

STREISAND: (Laughter) Elation. Absolute elation.

ROTT: Since May, the sale of the team had been locked in court with Donald Sterling suing his wife Shelly, saying she didn't have authority to sell his team. Sterling, who had owned the team since 1981, received a lifetime ban from the NBA earlier this year after making racist remarks. The sale drew praise from players, coaches and fans. Ron Klempner is the acting executive director of the NBA Players Association.

RON KLEMPNER: We're very much relieved that this unfortunate chapter in our league's history is finally over. And we look forward to putting the focus back on the court where it belongs.

ROTT: Soon after the deal was closed, the Clippers' Twitter account simply said, it's a new day. Nathan Rott, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Nathan Rott is a correspondent on NPR's National Desk, where he focuses on environment issues and the American West.