Money doesn't buy class, as Donald Sterling has proven repeatedly over the last month.
Apparently it doesn't buy common sense, either.
Sterling and wife Shelly reached a deal Thursday night to sell the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft chief executive officer Steve Ballmer for to $2 billion, a person familiar with the situation told USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.
That's billion, with a B. Let that rattle around your brain for a bit.
Set aside the galling fact that Sterling is cashing in on the bigoted and racially insensitive remarks that started this whole fiasco. Set aside, too, the absurdity of spending $2 billion when that money could be put toward things like childhood education or, if Ballmer is really hung up on sports, after-school programs for kids.
No team is worth $2 billion, and most certainly not the Clippers.
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The record price for an NBA franchise is $550 million, paid a few weeks back for the Milwaukee Bucks. Yes, the Clippers were going to be more attractive, and therefore costlier, than the small-market Bucks because they're in Los Angeles and have some star power.
A price tag of about $1 billion, the figure that was floated after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced his intent to force Sterling out on April 29, sounded about right. But Ballmer is doubling that, making the Clippers the second-most expensive franchise in North American sports.
Only the Los Angeles Dodgers, sold for $2.1 billion two years ago, were pricier.
At least the Dodgers came with a few World Series trophies and some famous alums. Not only have the Clippers never won a title, they've never even made it to the NBA Finals and have won a grand total of 19 playoff games in the past 20 years.
Granted, 10 of those have come in the past three years and the Clippers have three of the NBA's most popular figures now in Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and coach Doc Rivers. But that doesn't equate to $2 billion — especially when you consider the Clippers' economics.
The Clippers are only tenants in the Staples Center. That means they don't get any non-basketball revenue. Concession stands, parking, all those high-priced suites — none of that will add to Ballmer's bottom line.
Sponsors who couldn't get away from Sterling fast enough will likely return to the Clippers, generating some revenue for Ballmer. But it's not as if he's got lucrative naming rights to sell.
The Clippers local TV contract expires after the 2015-16 season, and Los Angeles broadcasters interested in making a bid should start hunting under the sofa cushions for their spare change now because the price is likely to go up. Way up.
Maybe not the deal $6 billion-plus over 25 years that Fox gave the Dodgers a year ago, but it won't be cheap. And Ballmer will benefit from the NBA's new national TV package, which is expected to double the $930 million it currently gets from ESPN/ABC and TNT.
But if Ballmer was this determined to own a sports team, there had to have been a better deal. The next-highest bid, by David Geffen's group, was reportedly several hundred million less than Ballmer's offer.
Maybe Ballmer was desperate after losing out on his attempt to buy the Sacramento Kings – which went for the bargain price of $534 million, mind you. Maybe he likes the fame and appreciation that will come with being the man who saved the Los Angeles Clippers. Maybe he's always wanted to be BFFs with Billy Crystal, the Clippers' super fan.
Or maybe he just has money to burn.