As the NBA and the Clippers seek to move on from the scandal surrounding owner Donald Sterling‘s racist remarks, another obstacle to separating the team from Sterling has emerged: his wife.
Shelly Sterling, who owns 50 percent of the team with her husband via a family trust, believes she is legally entitled to maintain ownership of the Clippers and will attempt to do so, even as the NBA is trying to force a sale of the team.
“She has a voluntary property right, and she won’t submit to an involuntary disposition of the team,” her attorney Pierce O’Donnell told The Hollywood Reporter.
O’Donnell noted that Shelly Sterling is trying to cooperate with the NBA, but “under no circumstances will she agree to have someone seize her property rights,” he added.
He said that Shelly Sterling had retained him and Greenberg Glusker to help her with this matter.
Donald Sterling was banned for life by the NBA after an audio recording surfaced of him making racist remarks, but in levying his punishment on Sterling, NBA commissioner Adam Silver clarified that his ruling applied only to Donald Sterling, saying that the league hadn’t made a decision about other members of Sterling’s family.
In the wake of the ban against Donald Sterling, Shelly Sterling has attended Clippers playoff games, cheering for the team.
But the NBA seems to be growing increasingly uncomfortable with Shelly Sterling’s presence in the Clippers organization, telling her it would prefer she not attend playoff games Friday and Sunday at the Staples Center, according to the Los Angeles Times, which previously reported that Shelly Sterling is trying to retain her ownership of the team.
A rep for the NBA has not yet responded to THR‘s request for comment.