Ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's $2 billion attempt to buy the LA Clippers has hit a roadblock, as the team's current owner, Donald Sterling, announced on Monday he has retracted his support for the deal. Ballmer had negotiated the $2 billion deal in May with Sterling's wife Shelly, who was thought to have had full authority to make the sale in her position as co-owner of the team. But without her husband's signature, the sale has yet to be finalized.
Sterling is suing the NBA for $1 billion
Donald Sterling, who was banned for life from the National Basketball Association for making racist remarks, issued a statement titled "The Team is not for Sale," in which he said that it was never his desire to sell the Clippers. Maxwell Blecher, Sterling's attorney, said his client would instead be pursuing a $1 billion federal lawsuit against the NBA. The Associated Press reports Sterling had agreed to sign off on Ballmer's deal last week, but changed his mind after discovering the NBA wouldn't rescind its lifetime ban and $2.5 million fine.
The ex-Microsoft boss spoke about the planned purchase in May. In a statement, Ballmer said, "I intend to do everything in my power to ensure that the Clippers continue to win — and win big — in Los Angeles." But Ballmer, who said he "loves basketball," may be waiting a while to get his chance to win big with the Clippers. Sterling, who is technically suing himself by continuing with the $1 billion lawsuit, said, "I love the team and have dedicated 33 years of my life to the organization. I intend to fight to keep the team."