Donald Sterling Went From a Beloved NBA Team Owner to Disgraced Racist — Where Is He Now?

Donald Sterling lost everything in 2014, except his money. He's actually still incredibly wealthy and seemingly doing just fine.

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Jun. 4 2024, Published 1:53 p.m. ET

Donald T. Sterling attends the 2nd Annual "California Gold Star Awards" dinner gala and auction at the Disneyland Hotel on April 5, 2003
Source: Getty Images

Donald Sterling

If one were to Google the craziest moments in the NBA, they might find stories of over zealous coaches, records being shattered, physical feats that seem almost supernatural in nature, and of course cringeworthy moments like that time Fergie absolutely destroyed the National Anthem. One thing that separates the NBA from other sports leagues, is its sense of humor which is how we got someone like Dennis Rodman in the '90s, and of course, Shaq and Charles Barkley's infamous frenemy banter.

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Unfortunately some of these legendary stories are more tragedy than comedy. Take former Clippers owner Donald Sterling, for example, who was forced to sell his team in May 2014 after anti-Black remarks surfaced. This incident also resulted in a lifetime ban from NBA games and a hefty fine of $2.5 million, per ESPN. So, where is the disgraced Sterling now? He's definitely not at a game.

Donald Sterling is seen on December 28, 2017 in Los Angeles, Calif.
Source: Getty Images
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What is Donald Sterling up to now?

According to Forbes, Sterling is very busy being incredibly wealthy in a way that is both gross and disgusting. The outlet reported that as of the time of this writing, he is wroth $4 billion. As per usual, the cancel train never seems to stop at any stations, so we really have to stop pretending as if such a thing exists, though we digress.

In July 2022, the Daily Mail spotted Sterling out and about with his wife Shirley, galavanting around Malibu near their home. He had just eaten at Lucky's, a popular steakhouse in the area, and was being walked to his car by an unknown woman. Shirley, to whom he's been married for more than 60 years, had driven separately. Perhaps there wasn't enough room in Sterling's car for Shirley, the mystery woman, and his doggie bag.

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Donald Sterling's scandal is getting the fictionalized series treatment.

Based on the ESPN 30 for 30 podcast The Sterling Affairs, FX's Clipped is dropping weekly on Hulu starting June 3, 2024. The first two episodes are already out with Modern Family star Ed O'Neill stepping into the scandal-ridden shoes of Sterling. The show focuses on the end of Sterling's tenure as owner of the Clippers, and takes a deep dive into his affair with V. Stiviano, the woman who recorded his racist comments. It's all about money, power, hubris, and of course trust in a world that has not earned it.

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While speaking with UPI, Ed said that Sterling did not believe he was being racist and understood that racism was wrong. In fact, the former owner fancied himself a hero of sorts by being a benefactor to Black people. "It really made no sense, but to him it did," said Ed.

Sterling's erratic mood swings made for a good time, as far as portraying him went. "It's almost like playing a Mafia boss without the violence, but it's psychic violence. He was a people manipulator," he said.

Stiviano is played by British actor Cleopatra Coleman who wanted the world to see a more complete picture of the woman who ultimately facilitated Sterling's demise. Cleopatra told UPI the power dynamic between Stiviano and Sterling was one of old guard versus new guard. Stiviano was well-versed with technology and the modern world while Sterling was old school. He had no idea what the internet was capable of, but Viviano did and she was very shrewd in that respect.

Despite how things ended, both Ed and Cleopatra decided that there was "genuine affection" between these two different people. It wasn't sexual in nature but rather one of companionship as far as Sterling was concerned. "There were moments where it really felt like there was manipulation taking place," said Cleopatra, "but there were some moments where it felt genuine."

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