The Donald Sterling era in Los Angeles is finally over. No more talks of player strikes; no more torture from the media; no more moronic litigation. It all came to an end on Tuesday.
The NBA officially welcomed Microsoft billionaire Steve Ballmer into the exclusive NBA owners club on Tuesday and also officially dismissed Sterling from the cool people group. After Sterling announced he was issuing an appeal on a California court ruling that allowed the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to move forward, it was imperative of the NBA to finally get this deal done.
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) August 12, 2014
Tuesday’s announcement made Sterling’s appeal useless, as he no longer has control of a franchise that before its current run of good luck has been one of the league’s laughing stocks for decades. A lot of that came from Sterling’s unwillingness to open his checkbook and sign players who could help the team.
The Clippers don’t have to worry about that with Ballmer, as he has pledged to do whatever he has to do to keep the Clippers competitive. You have to sense that a weight has been lifted off of the Clippers’ shoulders. They no longer have to wonder who was going to own the team walking into a 2014-15 season that could very well be the defining season in this franchise’s history. For the first time ever, the Clippers, yes, these Clippers, will be regarded as title contenders.
It was clear that Sterling’s insensitive comments damaged the Clippers’ psyche during the playoffs, and their play on the court suffered for it. Their suffering continued into the offseason, as Sterling pressed on with a ridiculous court challenge of the team’s sale to Ballmer. While Sterling was thinking about himself, the Clippers suffered by failing to sign players who can help the team.
Now that this nightmare is over, the team can move on from the Sterling era and move forward to concentrating on competing for a championship and finally removing the label as L.A.’s “other” NBA team. I feel like saying this, so I am going to say it: Ding, dong the witch is dead. Thank God the witch is dead.