Former Clippers owner Donald Sterling calls NBA 'a great league'

Donald Sterling changes tone about NBA, calls it a "great league" and Adam Silver "a wonderful leader."
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Former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has apparently changed his feelings about about the NBA, calling it "a great league" almost three years after he was forced to sell his team.

Those comments are a far cry from what Sterling said about the league when he was banned for life for making racist comments in a recorded conversation. He was also fined $2.5 million and forced to sell the franchise he owned for 33 years.

Sterling, now 83, says that NBA commissioner Adam Silver is "a wonderful leader." At the time he was banned in 2014, he said the league was "a band of hypocrites and bullies" and called Silver and others in the NBA "despicable monsters."

"I am as happy as I have ever been. I am as comfortable as I have ever been," Sterling told NBC News. "And I don't want to do anything to disturb that."

Sterling also sued the NBA accusing them of conspiring together to force him to sell the Clippers. He was seeking for $1 billion in damages and settled with the league last year.

But his wife, Shelly, says she doesn't understand why the league hasn't lifted her husband's lifetime ban.

"I couldn't understand the severity of the ban. It just seemed a little bit out of line," Shelly Sterling said. "I have talked to [the NBA] several times and I don't know what they will do. Maybe they will and maybe they won't [lift the ban]. Maybe it takes a little bit more time."

"A ban? I don't even know what that means," Donald Sterling said. "But I think my time has passed."

Sterling eventually sold his franchise to Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer for a record $2 billion.