LOS ANGELES – The estranged wife of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling will fight to retain her 50 percent ownership stake in the team, her lawyer said Thursday, adding an unwanted twist to the NBA’s plan to force new ownership on the franchise.
Shelly Sterling’s attorney, Pierce O’Donnell, said his client “will not agree to a forced or involuntary seizure of her interest.”
O’Donnell said Mrs. Sterling has no interest in managing the Clippers and wants a new investor group with a professional management team.
O’Donnell also told the AP that Shelly Sterling has been separated from her husband for the last year and is considering divorce. There is no record of legal separation documents being filed, though the couple is living apart.
Last week, NBA commissioner Adam Silver banned Donald Sterling from the NBA for life and urged league owners to force him to sell the team. The move came after a recording surfaced in which Sterling made racist comments, telling his friend V. Stiviano that he didn’t want her to bring black people to Clippers games.
At a news conference announcing the decision, Silver said no decision had been made regarding whether Mrs. Sterling or other family members will be allowed to retain an ownership position.