Los Angeles Clippers: Shelly Sterling

LOS ANGELES -- It sounded more like the title of a horror film than a projection for next season.

As Dick Parsons, the interim CEO of the Los Angeles Clippers, testified in state court Tuesday about the uncertain future of the team, he outlined an accelerated "death spiral" for the Clippers if Donald Sterling were to remain the owner.

"If none of your sponsors want to sponsor you," Parsons said. "And your coach doesn't want to coach for you and your players don’t want to play for you, what do you have?"

Parsons wasn’t just hypothesizing about losing sponsors, coaches and players if Sterling remained the owner. He testified that he has talked to many of the parties involved and they have told him their commitment to the team is only as strong as the team’s commitment to moving forward without Sterling.

"We're in so long as Donald Sterling is out," Parsons said when describing his conversation with several sponsors that have yet to commit to the team for the upcoming season.

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Sterling being Sterling not a good thing

July, 8, 2014
Jul 8
11:44
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- Donald Sterling was the same old Donald Sterling on the witness stand Tuesday, which is probably the worst thing that could have happened to Donald Sterling.

Sterling's behavior during his contentious testimony was both entertaining and sad. It drew laughter from the spectators in the sweltering, standing-room-only courtroom and tears from his wife, Shelly Sterling, who was seated behind her attorneys.

[+] EnlargeDonald Sterling
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY SportsDonald Sterling gave contentious testimony in court Tuesday and said he could get as much as $5 billion if he were to sell the Clippers himself.
It was the same Sterling many had seen in the past during his infamous depositions. He was defensive, combative, and at times, confused. He was constantly firing shots at attorney Bert Fields, questioning him and trying to control the proceedings from the moment he took the stand.

For years, it was the kind of behavior that was chalked up to Sterling being an eccentric man with a penchant for saying and doing things he shouldn't. It was a big reason Sterling never did any media interviews until his notorious sit-down with CNN's Anderson Cooper two months ago, during which he went from apologizing for his racist remarks to attacking Magic Johnson.

The problem for Sterling is his behavior is no longer a secret. His racist rants, his outbursts and his inability to remember things he said moments ago are no longer the secret of his inner circle that was guarding him from the public. They are now on display for everyone to see, as Tuesday's testimony reinforced.

While he was on the stand, Sterling repeatedly attacked Fields by calling him a "smart-ass," telling him to "stand up and be a man," saying he was a "weird lawyer" and asking for his name on more than two occasions. Perhaps it was a tactic that worked for Sterling in previous depositions, but with the spotlight on him in a trial largely centering on his mental competence, it wasn't the most opportune time to go off the rails.

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