When you attended a Los Angeles Clippers game as a media member you got to see the media dining area become “Club Sterling” — Donald and/or Shelly Sterling would be there, holding court, surrounded by the people who wanted to be near them and kiss their… you know. They clearly savored it. They loved being the people that owned the Clippers.
Shelly Sterling gets to keep a piece of that.
Which is disturbing. This is not a good person we are talking about.
It’s part of the price of the sale of the team to Steve Ballmer, a sale Shelly helped orchestrate by pushing aside Donald in the Sterling Family Trust with a Machiavellian move. It spared the NBA owners having to vote out one of their own, a precedent their preferred not to set. It got the team to an owner the NBA has wanted to bring in. It saves face.
Shelly Sterling no longer owns any piece of the Clippers, but here is what she does still get as part of this sale.
• Official title of “owner emeritus”
• Official title of “Clippers No. 1 fan”
• Two courtside tickets for all Clippers home games
• Ten tickets in the good seats in the lower bowl of Staples Center for all Clippers home games
• A dozen VIP passes to the luxury lounges (or media room) for all Clippers home games
• Six parking passes for every Clippers home game
• Three championship rings should the Clippers win a title
Why is that disturbing? Because Shelly Sterling is far from clean in all of Donald Sterling filth.
Shelly Sterling shows up all over some of the housing discrimination lawsuits filed against Sterling. She allegedly posed as a government inspector to both find out what race the tenants of their buildings were and to harass some of them. While this was all going on she said her husband was not a racist to the cameras.
But she’s the lesser of two evils for the league — she got Donald out, she got the team to Ballmer and avoided an owners’ vote on him, so they can live with Ballmer paying this price to her. She gets to keep this part of her life and identity.
Still, this whole thing makes me feel like I need to take a shower.