Clippers owner Donald Sterling ran his mouth in a racially insensitive manner and is walking away with a cool $2 billion.
That seems to be the general reaction of many folks after Thursday's news that Sterling's wife, Shelly, has agreed to sell the team to former Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer for that NBA-record price tag.
“Never in the course of sports purchases has complete idiocy led to a price that will definitely raise the value of every single NBA team,” Andy Dolich, who has held management positions in the four major U.S. sports leagues, told Bloomberg News. “The next major focal point will be on the amount of money that was paid to a guy that pulled the pin on his own hand grenade while holding it.”
Last month a recording was released of Sterling making inflammatory comments about African Americans. The NBA commissioner fined Sterling $2.5 million, banned him from any contact with the league and strongly recommended that NBA owners force Sterling to sell the Clippers.
If the deal goes through, the Sterlings will have made a reported 15,900% return on Donald Sterling's initial investment of $12.5 million back in 1981. And it all will have come about because of his abhorrent comments.
That's not sitting well with many folks on Twitter:
"Wow. $2 Billion for the LA Clippers. If Sterling had known that price tag, he would have shared his thoughts years ago." -- Yahoo! senior reporter Charles Robinson;
"So Donald Sterling will make $2 Billion for the sale of the Clippers. Well I hope he learned his lesson" -- Justin Stangel, executive producer/writer for Late Night with David Letterman;
"Don Sterling got $2 BILLION for selling the Clippers? Uh, hey...I don't want any black people in my house! Make me an offer!" -- comedian Patton Oswalt.
L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson said it would be "kind of a downer" if Donald and Shelly Sterling end up making a considerable amount of money out of the transaction. But he argued that having “that mindset out of the league is more important.”
Given that Ballmer is said to be worth 10 times the amount he is willing to pay for the team, a lot of folks are fine with a transaction that appears to be a fresh start for the franchise.
"I know all L.A. fans will join me in putting the past behind us and looking forward to a new and winning era for the Clippers," L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement.
"I think it's a great move for us," Clippers power forward Blake Griffin told The Times in a telephone interview on Thursday. "I think it's putting the final piece to the puzzle together."
And the consensus seems to be that Ballmer is the right guy for the task.
"Ballmer, huh?" center DeAndre Jordan said in a text to The Times. "Nice."
"God works in mysterious ways.." tweeted Clippers guard Jamal Crawford, who is said to be close friends with Ballmer. The two men work together with the A+ Youth Program in Seattle.
NBA legend Magic Johnson sent out a series of tweets Thursday in support of Ballmer's impending ownership Thursday night, including "Clipper Fans you'll love Steve Ballmer as your owner!" and "Steve Ballmer loves basketball, is smart businessman & he'll probably shake every fans hand outside the arena on opening night!"
Johnson was mentioned by name in the racially sensitive rant by Sterling that led the Clippers to this point. He was also criticized by Sterling in a later interview for his supposed lack of involvement in the African American community.
"Steve Ballmer owning the Clippers is a big win for the City of LA and all the people who live in the City of Angels!" Johnson also tweeted Thursday night.
Former USC football coach and current coach of the Seattle Seahawks Pete Carroll echoed the sentiment on Twitter: "Know it's early in the process but congrats and good luck to Steve Ballmer and the Clippers! This will be a great match for LA!"
Of course, there's surely many folks in the city who have the same reaction as Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, a die-hard Lakers fan.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun