Donald Sterling's 'disastrous tenure' at Clippers

ESPN the Magazine sizes up Donald Sterling in the new issue, detailing the disputed allegations about racial bias — the story begins with him being honored by the NAACP — and his stewardship of the NBA's historically sorriest team. Writer Peter Keating:

As for his franchise? Well, there are two kinds of basketball fans: those who know the details of its sad history and those who don't need to. Suffice it to say that 2008-09 marks the seventh time the Clippers have lost 60 games in a season and the 17th time they've lost 50 since Sterling moved them to Los Angeles 25 years ago, both achievements unequaled by any other team in the league over this period....

"Just evict the bitch."

It was 2002, and Donald Sterling was talking to Sumner Davenport, one of his four top property supervisors, about a tenant at the Ardmore Apartments. Already the largest landowner in Beverly Hills, Sterling had recently acquired the Ardmore as part of his move to extend his real estate empire eastward toward Koreatown and downtown LA. As he did, Sterling "wanted tenants that fit his image," according to testimony Davenport gave in a discrimination lawsuit brought against Sterling in 2003 by 19 tenants and the nonprofit Housing Rights Center. (That case ended in a confidential settlement in 2005...

And there's this: "Since moving to Staples in 1999, the Clippers have turned big profits for Sterling each year. With their perpetual losing and in the shadow of the Lakers, they generate relatively little money from ticket sales, premium seats and signage, and their overall revenue of $99 million in 2007-08 ranked 25th in the NBA. But that's still far more than they ever made at the Sports Arena."


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