Donald T. Sterling is an American attorney and businessman who owned the National Basketball Association’s San Diego / Los Angeles Clippers professional basketball franchise from 1981 until 2014.
The San Diego Clippers (now Los Angeles Clippers) struggled with several losing records simultaneously as the Lakers were well on their way to building a legend.
Two years after Jerry Buss owned the Lakers, Donald Sterling bought the team. However, Donald’s time as the owner was marred by numerous scandals.
So if you’re interested in learning more, we’ve got you covered.
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What is Donald Sterling’s Background?
Donald Sterling was born Donald Tokowitz in Chicago, Illinois, to Jewish parents. The family moved to Los Angeles, California, when he was just two years old.
In 1955, Donald married Rochelle Stein, with whom he had three children. He became a prominent divorce attorney after graduating from law school in 1961 at the age of 23.
He gained his money after that by significantly investing in real estate while the market was down, buying derelict flats in the Los Angeles neighbourhood.
Donald utilised his vast money to purchase the San Diego Clippers franchise for $12.5 million in 1981. Multiple off-court incidents, on the other hand, dominated the local news.
Tenants of his Beverly Hills, California, buildings protested to city hall in 1986 about unfair rent increases.
In 1982, the NBA penalised Donald $10,000 for publicly advising his team to lose more games in order to improve their selection position.
Donald had ongoing legal issues with his real estate properties a few years later. The Los Angeles Housing Rights Center sued him in 2004 for discriminatory renting practises.
Donald refused to rent apartments to Hispanics or blacks, according to his property manager, Summer Davenport. Employees allegedly refused to accept rent checks and refused to fix the flats, according to tenants.
Donald was sued by the Justice Department in 2006 for housing discrimination in Los Angeles’ Koreatown neighbourhood. The case was eventually resolved for $2.73 million.
The pattern repeated in 2009, when Elgin Baylor, the Clippers’ former general manager, filed a lawsuit alleging age and race discrimination, which led to his dismissal.
Elgin further said that when it came to dealing with black players, Donald had a “pervasive and persistent discriminatory mentality.”
Elgin eventually abandoned the racial accusations, and a judge sided with Donald.
The most devastating episode occurred in 2014, when a recording of Donald’s discussion with his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, was leaked. Donald made racial remarks such as “don’t bring black people” to Clippers games.
“It disturbs me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associated with black people,” he was allegedly caught stating. “Do you really have to?” Following an investigation, it was discovered that Donald was the one who was speaking.
As a result, the NBA suspended Donald for life and penalised him $2.5 million in April 2014. “I’m a decent member who made a mistake, and I’m sorry, and I’m asking for forgiveness,” Donald said in an interview the following month.
He also said that his girlfriend induced him to utter those things. During the same interview, he, however, ridiculed Magic Johnson.
What Happened to Donald Sterling And Where Is He Now?
As a result of the suspension, Rochelle proceeded forward with plans to sell the team. Donald’s lawyer indicated in May 2014 that his client had disavowed an agreement with Rochelle and that he would let her negotiate the sale.
Donald was eventually found to be mentally unable to make such choices, and the club was sold to Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.
In 2014, it was revealed that he was being treated for prostate cancer and had also been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Rochelle ejected Donald from their home in 2012 after he was overheard arguing with a mistress. The pair appeared to have settled their issues after initially deciding to file for divorce when they called it off in 2016.
Donald appeared to have made peace with what had happened in a 2017 interview, claiming, “I am as happy as I have ever been.” I’m as relaxed as I’ve ever been, and I don’t want to do anything to upset it.”
He still resides in Beverly Hills and has recently been looking into donating to charity.