The current bid would make the Los Angeles Clippers the most expensive NBA team ever sold
Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has agreed to buy the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion, according to multiple reports Thursday, a deal that if completed would end a saga that has consumed the NBA since racist comments by team owner Donald Sterling came to light last month.
Ballmer won a bidding war for the Clippers and agreed with Sterling’s wife Shelly to buy the team for $2 billion, according to reports citing anonymous sources by the Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press and ESPN. It remains to be seen if Sterling himself will fight the sale as he has pledged to. The NBA has been looking to force a sale in the wake of a leaked recording that showed Sterling chastising his then-girlfriend not associate with African-Americans, including NBA legend Magic Johnson.
Ballmer’s steep bid beat out several competitors, including a group led by David Geffen, which bid $1.6 billion, the Times and ESPN reports. It would be the second-most expensive sale of any North American professional sports team, just behind the sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers for $2.1 billion in 2012. The Clippers sale would easily beat the previous high price for an NBA team—the Milwaukee Bucks at $550 million earlier this year.
Ballmer was chief executive of Microsoft for 14 years and is estimated to be worth $20 billion.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver handed down a lifetime ban for Sterling and called on the other owners to officially force a sale shortly after the recording leaked.
Sterling bought the Clippers in 1981 for $12.5 million.