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article imageOp-Ed: Memo to Donald Sterling — Best you go quietly into the NBA night

By Marcus Hondro     Jul 28, 2014 in Sports
Let's start here: Donald Sterling is no longer liked, if ever he was, in the playground called the NBA. He wants to play there anyhow but the latest setback, which came Monday in an L.A. courtroom, should have even him convinced it is time to move on.
Judge Michael Levanas issued a ruling that in essence said the $2 billion sale of the L.A. Clippers to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer can go ahead, though it seems that Sterling will continue the fight; indeed, one Sterling lawyer said the ruling was "one stage of a long war." What folly that is!
The sale was negotiated in May by Mr. Sterling's wife, Shelly Sterling, after she'd had her 80-year-old husband examined by two doctors who declared him "mentally incapacitated." Mr. Sterling, the doctors believe, has Alzheimer's disease. The judge made his decision in part based on the doctor's reports and in part on other factors, including testimony from both Shelly Sterling and Donald Sterling. The judge found, not surprisingly, that she was more credible than he.
Judge rules L.A. Clippers can be sold
However, Judge Levanas' ruling was only an "...oral tentative statement decision" and Mr. Sterling and his lawyers can object to it. But there's a stipulation in the judge's probate court ruling which says that given Ms. Sterling followed the rules of the trusteeship, she can go ahead and finalize the deal with Ballmer, even before Donald Sterling has any appeal heard, should he appeal.
Mr. Ballmer has set a deadline of Aug. 15 to have the deal finalized and Ms. Sterling, who told media "I can't believe it's over. I feel good," is expected to go ahead and finish the sale. It's possible that the judge's ruling could be reversed after the sale, though that seems unlikely, and if that were to happen it's unclear how all this would play out.
Donald Sterling: No longer friend of NBA
That is a lot of background to get to this, a memo to Donald Sterling, courtesy this pundit, on behalf of NBA Commissioner Adam Sterling, the Los Angeles Clippers staff and players, in particular coach Doc Rivers (who suggests he'll step down if Sterling remains owner), all NBA personal and players, and NBA fans: "Go away. Leave the playground, find new friends, don't come back. Go quietly into the NBA night."
Some of you will feel sorry for him (though those who do must surely still want him to go away) and that's okay. Yeah, he was kind of wronged on the original tape recordings, the ones where he made the horribly racist, and terribly arrogant, statements to girlfriend V. Stiviano. He didn't know she was taping him and it all took place in his home. Morally, that's a pretty questionable way to get the goods on someone.
Further, he did say he was sorry, right on CNN with Anderson Cooper he did. True, it was one of the worst apologies since Richard Nixon exited the White House but, well, his admission that he made a "terrible mistake" counts for something. So given the manner in which the tape was made and his contrition, such that it is, it seems reasonable to insist no one kick the beejesus out of him before he exits the playground. But that's about all the quarter he should be given.
$2 billion NBA sale of Clippers
And why not go quietly, Mr. Sterling? To continue with this is hardly of benefit to you. No one who is a part of the L.A. Clippers wants you to remain as owner. Fans don't want you. The NBA desperately doesn't want you. What is there to gain by insisting you get to hang around? You'll be alone in a corner of the playground, any pleas for a turn on the teeter-totter will go unheeded. You'll be disregarded, overlooked, pushed aside, the invisible man.
And look on the plus side, your share of the $2 billion is gonna buy a lot of friends away from the NBA. True, you can already buy pretty much anything you want or go pretty much anywhere you want, but if you stand aside you'll at least be able to spend oodles of money on people who don't want you to go away. At least not openly.
And finally, peace is something even money cannot buy, or not so easily, and going quietly into the NBA night will buy you peace. To not go quietly will give you the opposite of peace and at an advanced age filling your day up with the noise of lawsuits and detractors can't be worth spending your money on. Or your time.
So yeah, memo to Donald Stirling: For your sake, everyone's sake — go.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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