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Shelly Sterling returns to witness stand in L.A. Clippers sale trial

Shelly Sterling and her husband, Los Angeles Clippers

Shelly Sterling and her husband, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, at a Clippers NBA game against the Detroit Pistons in Los Angeles on Nov. 12, 2010. Credit: AP

LOS ANGELES - A day after being berated in court by her husband, Shelly Sterling returned to the witness stand Thursday in a trial to determine whether she has the right to sell Donald Sterling's Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion.

Mrs. Sterling said her husband encouraged her to sell the team for the best price after the NBA banned him from the league for life for making racist remarks.

She moved quickly to get bids and kept her husband informed daily, she said in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

When she reported that former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer had offered $2 billion, Donald Sterling became excited and said she had done a good job but within days his mood changed, she said.

He became enraged in a conversation, cursed her, said he would never sell the team and would sue the league, she testified.

Shelly Sterling also defended the deal she unilaterally made with Ballmer -- which would be a record price for an NBA team -- and said she believed the sale would prevent disaster for the Clippers.

Mrs. Sterling said she feared players and sponsors would boycott if her husband held on to the team.

Donald Sterling contends that his wife had no right under a family trust that owns the Clippers to singlehandedly make the deal.

In earlier testimony, two doctors hired by Mrs. Sterling to examine him declared that the 80-year-old had Alzheimer's disease and was mentally incapable to act as administrator of the trust.

In his own testimony this week, Donald Sterling shouted from the witness stand that he would never sell the team.

On Tuesday, he alternately declared his love for his wife of 58 years with tears and then demeaned her as a woman intimidated by the "bad NBA" and incapable of handling such a large financial transaction. Before taking the witness stand, he kissed her.

But on Wednesday, he yelled "get away from me, you pig!" when she tried to approach him after her first day of testimony.

NBA owners are scheduled to vote on the Ballmer deal next Tuesday. It's also the day that Ballmer's offer is set to expire -- and there is no deal without the judge's approval of the sale.

If the sale isn't completed by Sept. 15, the league said it could seize the team and put it up for auction.

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