Basketball - 2006
A prominent attorney, community leader, philanthropist and entrepreneur, Donald T. Sterling ranks as one of the longest-tenured owners in the NBA. After 24 seasons as the Clippers’ Chairman of the Board and owner, he remains one of the few sole owners of a professional sports franchise.
Sterling was born in Chicago and raised in Los Angeles, earning his entire education in the area, from high school to law school, where he graduated with cum laude honors. He began his career as a lawyer before turning to investments, sports and entertainment in Southern California.
He took over ownership of the Clippers’ franchise in 1981 when the team was located in San Diego. He carried out his vision by bringing the club to his hometown in 1984. Sterling moved the Clippers again prior to the 1999-2000 season, only this time just a few blocks up Figueroa Street. That season the team began playing in the magnificent new STAPLES Center in downtown Los Angeles.
Sterling is involved in many philanthropic causes and was the driving force in the formation of the Los Angeles Clippers Foundation, which benefits numerous local charities. He has received many honors, including Vista Del Mar’s 1997 “Man of the Year,” the “Gold Medal Humanitarian of the Year” from the Special Olympics, the 1998 Los Angeles Yeshiva “Golden Menorah Humanitarian of the Year,” and the Asthma & Allergy Foundation 1998 “Humanitarian of the Year Award.” Most recently, he was named “Humanitarian of the Year” by the Los Angeles Police Historical Society. Funds generated by the event went toward the construction of the Los Angeles Police History and Community Education Center – a multipurpose facility designed to pay tribute to those who have fallen in the line of duty and serves as a community center for at-risk youth, an interactive LAPD Museum, and an LAPD substation.
Sterling is the managing partner of a law firm and Chairman of Sterling Properties.