Donald Sterling testifies at trial

Sterling nodded and said: "I'll observe that, your honor. It's just that he asked me three questions in one, so forgive me, I won't let that happen again."

But at every turn, Sterling sought to spar with Fields, calling him a "smart-ass" and belittling him with responses like, "I'm talking about your questions. I'm sure they'll improve."

While Levanas noted that Sterling's responses were "entertaining" to the raucous courtroom, which laughed amid the chattering of typing on laptops, he continually tried to keep the proceedings moving along. And between the angry rants toward the NBA and the doctors who had examined him, and emotional declarations of love for his wife, Sterling addressed and answered several key issues in the case.

"The only one I trust is my wife," he said. "I love her. She's a good person. If there was a fly in the house, she'd open up 10 windows to let it out."

Sterling said he had initially authorized his wife to negotiate with the NBA to sell the franchise because he believed she would keep a portion of the team. He signed a letter sent to the NBA on May 22 by his lawyer, Douglas Walton, informing them of his decision.

"When I found out what was accurate," Sterling said, regarding Ballmer's pending purchase of 100 percent of the team, "I didn't want to go through with the sale. Why is that so hard for you to understand?"

When the team was sold to Ballmer, Sterling issued a news release through his attorney, Bobby Samini, announcing the apparent transaction. Fields put a copy of that news release on a projector for Sterling to read, then referenced quotes from Sterling in news releases on June 9 and 10 in which he reversed course and would not sell the team, and famously called the NBA "despicable monsters."

Sterling disputed he'd said what was in the news releases, refused to acknowledge that Samini was his lawyer and suggested that the way the statements were represented by the media was distorted. However, he eventually explained that when he consented to the sale, he believed the NBA was dropping its lifetime ban of him and a $2.5 million fine. When he learned that the league was not, he did not want to sell.

Now, Sterling says, he believes Shelly vastly undervalued the franchise when she sold it for $2 billion and will fight in court as long as he has to in order to prove that.

"The reason [I'm fighting] is not because of my dignity or embarrassment," Sterling said. "The reason is that the Lakers signed a deal with [Time Warner Cable] for $3 billion while I'm negotiating with Fox. I believe I can get $3 billion. And because of the team's success, there are several radio stations that want to pay a substantial fee.

"It's an economic reason. I'm trying to generate as much success as I can for the trust. ... My wife, she's beautiful, but she cannot run anything."

Donald Sterling suggested he would win his antitrust lawsuit against the NBA and commissioner Adam Silver and be awarded "$9 billion [in damages] from them for what they did."

"There's no ego involved here. There's tremendous opportunity," he said, referencing the boom in media-rights prices. "All I ask is to be patient for another two years and see what this trust does."

Afterward, attorneys on both sides hailed it as a victory for their client.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...