While banned Clippers owner Donald Sterling is preparing to sue the NBA, his estranged wife Shelly Sterling is claiming entitlement to the franchise. The claim’s legal grounds are poor since Shelly Sterling has never been approved as a controlling owner of the team. The League should have no problem barring her as an owner, but Magic Johnson said there is no room for either Sterling in the NBA. From USA Today:
Magic Johnson said Friday that none of the current Los Angeles Clippers players would play for the team if Shelly Sterling, the estranged wife of team owner Donald Sterling, retains her 50% ownership stake in the team.
“Those guys are not going to play for anybody (named) Sterling,” Johnson told USA TODAY Sports and two other reporters at the Omni Dallas Hotel. “It’s just how it is. It’s hard to separate the two. … It’s going to be hard for them to sell that to the fans and definitely to the players.”
USA TODAY Sports reported on Thursday that Shelly Sterling intends to remain a 50% owner of the Clippers, even though the NBA banned her husband for life in the wake of his racist remarks that were tape recorded and released by the website TMZ. Shelly Sterling said she would remain a passive owner and does not want to be involved in running the team.
But Johnson said it is impossible to separate Shelly Sterling from her husband, even though her voice was absent from the audio recording. He noted past allegations about deplorable living conditions by tenants who lived in properties owned by the Sterlings.
“When they accused them of (being) slumlords, that was both, it wasn’t one person,” Johnson said. “It was both of them. … They will never recover from this. All the sponsors pulling out, they will pull out for good if she is owning it. It’s not going to be the same.”