The Sterling Affairs is a story of power and scandal in Los Angeles. When an audio recording of a racist rant by then Clippers owner Donald Sterling was leaked online in 2014, it caused an uproar that changed the NBA forever.
But Sterling had been a problem for decades -- in basketball, real estate and more. Why did it take 30 years to finally hold him accountable?
"The Sterling Affairs" is a five-part series from 30 for 30 Podcasts and The Undefeated, produced in collaboration with Western Sound. The series is reported and hosted by ESPN's Ramona Shelburne. All five episodes are available now at30for30podcasts.com/sterling.
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Episodes of "The Sterling Affairs" are available now for fans to binge-listen. The episode lineup is:
The explosive tape of Donald Sterling breaks the internet. Ramona Shelburne explains how a fight between V. Stiviano and Shelly Sterling lit the match.
Nothing explains where Donald Sterling fits into the L.A. scene better than his relationship to the Lakers, Jerry Buss and Showtime. Everything came easy for Buss; everything Sterling did reeked of desperation.
Donald and Shelly grew up in the poor neighborhood of Boyle Heights, and as they built their real estate empire and bought the Clippers, they worked hard to reinvent themselves. As part of that reinvention, however, Donald Sterling also engaged in womanizing and housing discrimination -- and was rarely held accountable.
With the threat of players boycotting playoff games in protest, for once it was the players -- not the owners -- who had the power to hold Sterling accountable. New commissioner Adam Silver heard the outcry and banned Sterling for life.
Sterling's ban was a bold statement, but the devil was in the details. Sterling still owned the team. Ultimately, this drama was going to be resolved where it started -- in court, with Donald and Shelly. And in a Shakespearean move, Shelly had her husband of 60 years declared mentally unfit in order to seize control of the team and sell the franchise.
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