Sterling was apologetic after the audio recording went viral, but his mea culpa backfired when he criticized Lakers great Magic Johnson, who had been photographed with Sterling's girlfriend, as a bad role model for kids because he had HIV. Sterling was roundly criticized from locker rooms to the Oval Office, where President Barack Obama called Sterling's remarks "incredibly offensive racist statements."
With the NBA threatening to seize the team and auction it, Sterling initially gave his wife of 58 years permission to negotiate a sale but then refused to sign it. He said he would sue the league instead and then revoked the trust.
The nonjury trial held over several weeks focused mainly on whether Shelly Sterling properly removed her husband as a trustee and whether her actions carried any weight after he revoked the trust.
Donald Sterling's lawyers contended that his wife and her lawyers conspired to trick him and that the mental exams by two doctors were faulty. They said Sterling didn't know his competency as a trustee was being evaluated and that he showed no signs of incompetence on the witness stand.
In combative testimony, Sterling said he would "never, ever sell" the team he bought in 1981 for about $12 million. He vowed to fight the NBA in court until the day he dies.
Before taking the stand, he kissed his wife and then testified that he loved her. But the following day when she approached him in court he yelled, "get away from me, you pig!"
"It was tough," Shelly Sterling said of the trial. "We do have love for each other. I hope it will all work out between us and it will. Everything will be good. It was very tough. All I want to do now is get some sleep. I haven't slept in weeks."
Donald Sterling, a lawyer who made a fortune as a landlord, has filed an antitrust lawsuit in federal court against the NBA and he sued his wife, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and the league in state court.
Lawyers for Shelly Sterling and Ballmer had urged the judge to let the sale go through because it was in the best interest of the family trust. They said an auction was less likely to bring such a high price and that coach Doc Rivers, key players and sponsors were likely to walk if Donald Sterling's ownership was prolonged.
"The trust has a golden bird in the hand," Shelly Sterling's lawyers wrote in court papers. "A sale of the Clippers for $2 billion is indisputably a bonanza for the Sterling family. Donald's strident opposition is motivated by only selfish considerations."
Donald Sterling said he could get more for the team by also selling TV rights and through his $9 billion suit against the league.
Though Donald Sterling is banned for life from the league, Shelly Sterling said she's confident that it will one day be lifted and he will be able to attend games with her.
"Oh, absolutely, he'll be able to," Sterling said. "I think the ban will be lifted. There's a new owner and a new sheriff in town and it's going to be good. It's going to be good for the city, for the fans, for the league, for everybody and that's all we want."
Information from ESPNLosAngeles.com's Arash Markazi and The Associated Press was used in this report.