LOS ANGELES - A California appeals court on Friday rejected disgraced Los Angeles Clippers co-owner Donald Sterling's attempt to have the $2 billion sale of the NBA team put on hold until his appeal can be heard.
In denying Sterling's latest attempt to block the sale brokered by his estranged wife, Shelly Sterling, to former Microsoft Corp chief executive Steve Ballmer, the court said there was nothing for it to review at this time, according to an order posted on the website of the state appeals court.
Shelly Sterling, 79, was given the go-ahead by a Los Angeles probate judge last month to consummate the NBA-record sale as the court said she had the power and fiduciary duty to complete the deal with Ballmer.
Lawyers for the 80-year-old real estate billionaire, who has been banned for life by the NBA for racist remarks, say the probate judge ruled too broadly in allowing the Clippers sale to move forward pending Donald Sterling's own appeal.
The appeals court's rejection of Sterling's petition is another victory for the NBA as the league has so far been able to remove an owner without having to take the action itself, legal observers say.
The all-cash deal is set to be completed by Aug. 15, ahead of the NBA's Sept. 15 deadline. The league has said it could confiscate the franchise and sell it at auction if the sale is not completed by that date.
Shelly Sterling struck the deal with Ballmer in May, a month after the NBA banned her husband after his privately taped remarks imploring a girlfriend not to publicly associate with black people were published.
Sterling's remarks during the Clippers' playoff run sparked public outrage and prompted sponsors to cut ties with the team.
The team's interim chief executive, Richard Parsons, testified at the probate trial that head coach Doc Rivers was ready to quit if Sterling still owned the team and players were ready to do the same.
Sterling, who initially blessed the deal to Ballmer, has said that he wants to hold onto the team on principle and that he believes it is worth much more than $2 billion.