The attorneys for Shelly Sterling, the estranged wife of Clippers owner Donald Sterling, fired back at the NBA on Sunday night after the league said earlier in the evening that she wouldn't be able to own the team if three-fourths of the 30 NBA team owners vote to force her husband to sell the team.
The attorneys issued a statement saying that California and U.S. laws "trump" any kind of bylaws set forth by the NBA, according to the Los Angeles Times:
"We do not agree with the league's self-serving interpretation of its constitution, its application to Shelly Sterling or its validity under these unique circumstances. We live in a nation of laws. California law and the United States Constitution trump any such interpretation."
NBA spokesman Mike Bass had said earlier on Sunday that if three-fourths of the league's team owners vote to force Sterling to sell the team he purchased for $12.5 million in 1981, "all other team owners' interests are automatically terminated as well" regardless of whether those parties are related in any way. Those terms, Bass said, are agreed upon in the contract the owner signs with the NBA when purchasing a team.
The billionaire Sterling was banned from attending any of the Clippers games or functions and fined $2.5 million by Commissioner Silver following racist remarks he made during a private but taped phone conversation with a woman in April. In his absence, Dick Parsons -- a former Citigroup chairman and who had also served as Time Warner chairman and CEO -- has been installed as the Clippers’ interim CEO during the impending court battle.