The Los Angeles Clippers officially have a new owner.
Steve Ballmer's bid to purchase the Clippers closed Tuesday after the entry of an order by a California court confirmed the authority of Shelly Sterling to sell the team on behalf of the Sterling Family Trust, the league announced.
Ballmer, the former Microsoft CEO, bid $2 billion for the Clippers in May but wasn't able to complete the sale until Tuesday's written court order affirmed Shelly Sterling's authority to sell the franchise without the consent of her husband, Donald Sterling.
"It's very, very exciting. I'm a basketball nut," Ballmer said in an interview with ESPN's Ramona Shelburne. "I've got time. I love Los Angeles. I love Seattle, too, which is where we have our home. But the notion of spending a lot of time in Los Angeles has been exciting to me for years. The community down there is great. I look forward to supporting the community, the fan base, the staff, Doc [Rivers] and the players to take this thing to higher heights."
Ballmer acknowledged there were some frustrating moments while the sale of the franchise was delayed by court proceedings but said he remained confident he'd be able to complete it.
"My job has been to complete the deal and there were a lot of people, including me, working on it for a long time," Ballmer said. "Was I kind of itchy? Sure. But I knew the only thing I could do or should do was complete the final deal, and we were able to do that this morning."
The NBA's board of governors interviewed Ballmer on July 15, then took a vote electronically last week in which he was unanimously approved as an owner, sources told Shelburne.
Ballmer decided he would complete the sale as soon as Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas' written order came in, which occurred at 11:30 a.m. ET Tuesday.
"We were ready," Adam Streisand, Ballmer's attorney, said. "Within minutes, the deal was signed, sealed and delivered."
Ballmer plans to travel to Los Angeles later this week and have dinner with the team, then meet with Clippers employees and fans at an event Monday.
Ballmer's takeover of the Clippers follows weeks of legal tussling between Shelly and Donald Sterling, the 80-year-old billionaire whom the NBA banned earlier this year for making offensive remarks about blacks.
Donald Sterling's attorneys filed a writ of mandate Tuesday in appeals court requesting the reversal of the order confirming Shelly Sterling's authority to conduct the sale. Shelly Sterling's attorneys then filed an opposition to the petition, calling it "frivolous."
However, sources also told Shelburne that attorneys for Donald Sterling and Shelly Sterling recently have been discussing a settlement.
The NBA, meanwhile, has filed a counterclaim in federal court against Donald Sterling and the Sterling Family Trust, saying he caused "devastating and incalculable harm" to the league. The counterclaim was in response to an antitrust lawsuit Sterling filed in June against the NBA and commissioner Adam Silver seeking $1 billion in damages.