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Steve Ballmer now owns the Clippers

Steve Ballmer now owns the Clippers Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Steve Ballmer is now the legal owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, the NBA announced in a press release Tuesday.

Ballmer, whose net worth is valued at $21.3 billion by Forbes, is the former CEO of Microsoft.

Late last month, Los Angeles County court judge Michael Levanas ruled that Shelly Sterling, the wife of former Clippers owner Donald Sterling, legally sold the team to Ballmer for $2 billion. 

More: One Sterling trial resumes, another is just beginning in Clippers fight

The judge also invoked a clause permitting the sale to be completed regardless of Donald Sterling's appeal of the ruling. Sterling filed a new lawsuit late last month that seeks money damages.

The press release says that the transaction has been "closed," and that the NBA Board of Governors had already approved Ballmer, 58, as the owner.

As SI.com previously reported, in Levanas's oral order on July 28, he reasoned that the Sterling dispute is unique.

According to SI.com's Michael McCann, Levanas believed Shelly Sterling that Donald Sterling’s continued association with the team might lead to a player boycott, coach Doc Rivers quitting, a loss of sponsors, a diminished fan base, lower television revenue and other harms absorbed by the trust.

Levanas was also mindful of the NBA’s Sept. 15 deadline for the Sterlings to sell the team, with the threat that it would terminate the Sterlings’ ownership and sell the team in an auction after that date.

Ballmer released a statement on Tuesday:

- Chris Johnson

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