Donald Sterling Net Worth, How Much Money Is Donald Sterling Worth?

Donald Sterling, born Donald Tokowitz on April 26, 1934, in Chicago, Illinois, is an American business magnate and former attorney known primarily for his controversial ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers. Sterling’s career began in law, but he later transitioned into real estate, amassing a significant property portfolio in Los Angeles. Sterling’s tenure as the Clippers’ owner was marked by controversy and legal disputes, culminating in a high-profile scandal in 2014 that led to his lifetime ban from the NBA.

What is Donald Sterling’s Net Worth?

Donald Sterling has a net worth of approximately $4 billion. This wealth primarily stems from his extensive real estate holdings and his ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers. Despite facing significant legal and public challenges, Sterling’s financial portfolio has remained robust, thanks to his strategic investments and the lucrative sale of the Clippers in 2014.

How Did Donald Sterling Start His Career?

Sterling began his professional journey as a divorce and personal injury attorney in 1961. Faced with limited opportunities for Jewish lawyers at prestigious firms, he established his own practice. Concurrently, he ventured into real estate, purchasing a 26-unit apartment building in Beverly Hills. His real estate empire expanded significantly over the years, including notable properties like the Lesser Towers in Westwood, which he renamed Sterling Towers, and Sterling Plaza, formerly the California Bank Building.

What Was Sterling’s Role with the Los Angeles Clippers?

In 1981, encouraged by his friend Jerry Buss, Sterling purchased the San Diego Clippers for $12.5 million. The Clippers were struggling at the time, and Sterling pledged to invest heavily to improve the team. Despite his efforts, the Clippers did not have a winning season until the 1991-1992 NBA season. Sterling’s management style was often criticized for being frugal, and he faced numerous challenges, including attempts to relocate the team to Los Angeles and significant fines from the NBA.

What Were the Highlights and Challenges of Sterling’s Clippers Ownership?

Sterling’s ownership of the Clippers was marked by both highs and lows. The team moved to Los Angeles in 1984, initially playing at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. Sterling faced significant resistance and fines for the move but ultimately succeeded in relocating the team. Under his ownership, the Clippers struggled for many years, but the early 2010s saw a resurgence with the acquisition of star players like Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. Despite these successes, Sterling’s tenure was often marred by criticism and controversy, including being named the “worst owner in sports” by several publications.

What Was the 2014 Racist Controversy?

In April 2014, Donald Sterling became embroiled in a major scandal when recordings of him making racist comments were leaked. The conversation, recorded by his then-mistress V. Stiviano, led to widespread condemnation. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver swiftly banned Sterling from the league for life and fined him $2.5 million. Sterling was also stripped of almost all authority over the Clippers and banned from attending any team facilities.

How Did the Sale of the Clippers Occur?

Following the scandal, Sterling’s wife, Shelly Sterling, negotiated the sale of the Clippers. In May 2014, she reached an agreement to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion. This sale marked a significant increase in the team’s value, considering Sterling had purchased it for $12.5 million in 1981. The sale was completed despite Sterling’s legal attempts to block it, effectively ending his association with the NBA.

What is Donald Sterling’s Personal Background?

Donald Sterling was born to Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants, Susan and Mickey Tokowitz. His family moved to Los Angeles when he was two years old, and he grew up in the Boyle Heights neighborhood. Sterling attended Theodore Roosevelt High School, where he was class president and a member of the gymnastics team. He continued his education at California State University, Los Angeles, graduating in 1956, and later attended Southwestern University School of Law, graduating in 1960. In 1959, he and his wife Shelly changed their surname from Tokowitz to Sterling for both pronunciation ease and perceived financial benefits.

What is Known About Sterling’s Personal Life?

Donald Sterling married Rochelle “Shelly” Stein in 1957, and the couple had three children. However, their relationship became estranged in 2012. Tragically, their oldest son, Scott, died of a drug overdose in 2013. Despite their estrangement, Shelly played a crucial role in negotiating the sale of the Clippers following the 2014 scandal.

How Has Sterling’s Real Estate Career Evolved?

Sterling’s real estate career began in the 1960s and has grown significantly over the decades. By April 2014, he owned 162 properties in Los Angeles, with additional holdings in Orange County, San Diego, and Las Vegas. His ventures have not been without controversy, as evidenced by a $17.3 million lawsuit filed by actress Robyn Cohen after a fire at one of his properties. Despite these challenges, Sterling’s real estate portfolio remains a major source of his wealth.

What is Sterling’s Legacy?

Donald Sterling’s legacy is a complex mix of business success and public controversy. His real estate investments have made him one of the wealthiest individuals in Los Angeles, but his tenure as the Clippers’ owner and the 2014 scandal have left a lasting impact on his public image. Sterling’s story serves as a cautionary tale about the intersection of personal conduct and public scrutiny in the world of high-stakes business and sports.


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