Donald Sterling has had a really rough month. Since the tape of his racist remarks leaked, there has been a long, ugly battle about the future of the Los Angeles Clippers, his relationships with his estranged wife, his vengeful mistress, and a basketball league that wants to see him disappear forever.
The story has taken so many weird, unexpected turns that it seems like no one, not even his own lawyers, knows exactly what's going on. The Wire took it upon ourselves to provide you with a complete timeline of this entire disaster.
Enjoy. Or don't. We just want this whole thing to go away.
April 25, 1934: Donald Tokowitz, now Sterling, is born.
1955: Donald and Shelly Sterling wed.
1981: Sterling purchases the San Diego Clippers for $12 million.
1983: Paul Phipps, Clippers general manager in 1982, is told by Rollie Massimino (a prospective coach) that he heard Sterling use the n-word.
1984: Sterling moves the Clippers from San Diego to Los Angeles.
1996: While testifying in a sexual harassment lawsuit, Sterling isn't sure if he made out with an employee or not.
2001: Santa Monica sues Sterling for harassing and threatening to evict rent control tenants.
2003: Sterling's tenants file a federal lawsuit, claiming "numerous discriminatory statements and housing practices."
2005: Sterling settles the 2003 lawsuit, paying about $5 million in legal fees, plus an undisclosed (probably huge) settlement.
2006: The Department of Justice sues Sterling for housing discrimination after he speaks against renting to Latino and African American tenants.
2009: Sterling settles the 2006 lawsuit for about $3 million. Elgin Baylor, the Clippers general manager from 1986 to 2008, files a civil lawsuit for wrongful termination. He says Sterling has a "vision of a Southern plantation type structure" for the Clippers, in which "poor black kids from the South [are] playing for a white coach." Baylor also claims Sterling brings African American women into the locker room, saying "Look at those beautiful black bodies."
2011: Baylor drops racial discrimination suit.
March 2011: Clippers run an advertisement in which Sterling says the team is honored to celebrate Black History Month. Some fans are offended because Black History Month is February, believe Sterling is disrespectful.
2012: Former Clippers player Baron Davis says Sterling's heckling made it difficult for him to come to work.
April 9, 2014: Sterling's girlfriend, Vanessa Stiviano, records their conversations, in which Sterling tells Stiviano not to bring black friends to Clippers games, or post photos of her with black people (including NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson) on Instagram.
April 25, 2014: TMZ releases tapes of Donald Sterling making racist those remarks.
April 27, 2014: During warmup for a playoff game, Clippers wear uniforms inside out in protest.
April 29, 2014: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver bans Sterling for life. Fines Sterling $2.5 million, the maximum fine allowed. Says owners will vote to remove Sterling as owner and force a sale of the team on June 3rd. Stiviano's lawyer says she is "very saddened" by the NBA's decision. Rush Limbaugh develops Sterling conspiracy theory.
May 1, 2014: Los Angeles NAACP president Leon Jenkins resigns, seemingly over Sterling's lifetime achievement award.
May 3, 2014: Stiviano says Sterling isn't racist.
May 6, 2014: Andy Roeser, Clippers President, resigns.
May 8, 2014: Shelly Sterling, Donald Sterling's estranged wife, says she will fight to keep her half of the team. The Clippers are owned by the Sterling Family Trust, of which she owns half according to California state law. Radar Online issues a second recording, presumably made by Sterling, where he denies being a racist.
May 10, 2014: Richard Parsons appointed interim CEO of the Clippers.
May 11, 2014: Sterling says his remarks were a "terrible mistake" and asks for forgiveness. Also, shows disdain for Magic Johnson. Shelly Sterling says Donald Sterling has dementia.
May 12, 2014: Sterling says he prayed for Magic Johnson's AIDS (which he doesn't have.) Much of his interview with Anderson Cooper is aired.
May 13, 2014: Shelly Sterling says the NBA is being sexist, saying they are punishing her half of the ownership for her husband's mistakes. Magic Johnson says "Sterling is not welcome back in the NBA."
May 15, 2014: Shelly and Donald Sterling announce they are getting divorced. Sterling says he will fight to keep the team.
May 19, 2014: NBA files charges against Donald Sterling to initiate the process for his removal as owner.
May 23, 2014: Sterling says he will turn the team over to his wife, so that she can sell it. NBA says vote will move forward as planned.
May 27, 2014: Sterling and his team of lawyers respond to the charges with a 26-page document demanding the NBA allows him to keep the team. Donald Sterling says he wants to fight to keep the team, Shelly Sterling says she wants to sell the team.
May 28, 2014: Donald Sterling says he is okay with selling the team.
May 29, 2014, 2:00 p.m.: Deadline passes for prospective buyer to submit bids. Shelly Sterling gets three bids to buy the Clippers, all above $1.2 billion.
May 29, 2014, 5:00 p.m.: Sterling's attorney tells CNN what "NBA did stinks," say Sterling is considering suing the NBA.
May 29, 2014: 7:55 p.m.: The L.A. Times reports that former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has submitted a winning bid of $2 billion.
May 29, 2014: 9:00 p.m.: ESPN reports that Ballmer has a signed agreement with the Sterling trust to purchase the team. Agreement is immediately submitted to the NBA for approval
June 3, 2014: NBA plans vote on Sterling's future as owner. Expected to vote him out. Unless....????
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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