Could Donald Sterling mount a dementia defense?

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling looks on

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling looks on during the first half of their game against the Los Angeles Lakers in Los Angeles on Feb. 25, 2011. (Credit: AP / Mark J. Terrill)

Does Donald Sterling have an Alzheimer's defense?

We're in tricky territory here. If you suffer from progressive dementia, you're often the last one to know it -- and the least equipped to marshal your last, best, possible defense.

The 80-year-old owner of the L.A. Clippers doesn't have too many good ones left.

His racist diatribes were caught on tape by his 31-year-old "archivist," turning him into a national pariah overnight. Everything he's said since then suggests he hasn't a clue how damaging the utterances were.

Now comes word the foul-mouthed NBA owner has been found mentally unfit to negotiate a sale of the team, leaving his wife, Shelly, as sole trustee of the family trust. This turns out to be excellent news for her handful of a husband, whether he realizes it or not.

For one thing, Sterling's purported fogginess is the only remotely sympathetic explanation for his verbal meanness. That was the Alzheimer's talking -- not me! And not only that. Look at the deal the Mrs. has struck with former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer -- $2 billion for a franchise valued at half that barely two weeks ago.

National pariah or befuddled coot? Who cares? Just take the money and run!

BRAIN DRAIN

1. Thinking Adam Silver has no power

2. Making dates through rapper Maserati

3. Forgetting his slumlord past

4. Slamming Magic Johnson: "What has he done?"

5. Convincing himself that an "artist, lover, writer, chef, poet, stylist, philanthropist," 49 years his junior, loves him for anything but his bank account and credit cards

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THE NEWS IN SONG: Just a soul whose intentions are good: Elvis Costello's "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," tinyurl.com/sterlingdefense

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LONG ISLANDER OF THE WEEK: SHEP GORDON

He's been away a while, way too many years in Hollywood. But as far as he's traveled, as many stars as he's made, Shep Gordon is still a mensch from Oceanside. Managing the careers of Alice Cooper, Teddy Pendergrass, Blondie, Luther Vandross and Raquel Welch, he became so much more than a 15-percenter. He lived the life, loved the people and even invented "Celebrity Chef." His fascinating biopic -- how many managers get biopics? -- is called Supermensch. Made by Mike Myers ("Wayne's World," "Austin Powers"), it hits theaters on Friday. LI mensch finds peace at last.