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5 things we learned from the Donald Sterling affair


Stephen King never has been more correct. The best-selling author tells us that every book imparts its own lesson or lessons, and it’s often the bad books that teach more than the good ones.

The saga of Donald Sterling is a bad book.

It makes “Fifty Shades of Grey” seem Pulitzer-worthy.

But before we throw Sterling’s self-help manual on how best to resemble a disturbed, ignorant, unstable bigot into the dumpster, we should review those truths discovered when watching the bizarre narrative play out the past several weeks.

Lessons learned:

▶ Donald isn’t going away quietly.

Steve Ballmer might believe he has purchased the Clippers for $2 billion. The NBA might believe it. Shelly Sterling really seems to believe it.

Donald has other ideas.

He reportedly will file a $1 billion lawsuit against the NBA, charging an invasion of his constitutional rights, violation of antitrust laws, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract and making fun of the company that a dirty old owner keeps at night.

Well, not the last part.

His attorneys are also claiming those mental tests performed on Sterling that found him incapacitated were exaggerated and that he is “far from incompetent.”

Yeah, just a bit farther than Sean Penn is from being a conservative.

▶ Rich guys like their toys.

Ballmer can afford the $2 billion he offered for the Clippers. He was the CEO of Microsoft for 14 years and is worth an estimated $20.7 billion, meaning he still has enough pocket change to afford 20 or so round trips to the moon or a fleet of Ferrari GTOs.

But the wealthiest among us are often more concerned with status than substance. If he indeed ends up as owner, Ballmer overnight went from computer nerd few outside his software world knew to the cool sports guy with front-row seats and the best parking space at Staples Center.

He can now have important meetings in a suite at Staples during a game against the Heat instead of some stuffy boardroom. Sure, he might make a fortune on the team’s TV rights when its cable contract is up, but I’m guessing he’s far more stoked about the idea of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin hanging around his pool for a barbecue.

Ballmer has wanted to own a pro sports franchise for some time. He always has wanted to be the cool guy.

Now, he’s Ben Stein with Doc Rivers on speed dial.

▶ Never trust a mistress whose first name is a letter.

V. Stiviano is a piece of work, having taped hundreds of hours of conversations with Sterling before the infamous exchange — translation: Sterling’s racist rant — found its way to the offices of TMZ.

We’re not exactly sure what V. stands for, given Stiviano has been arrested at least four times and has used at least five aliases. She has been Vannessa Perez and Maria Perez and Monica Gallegos and Maria Valdez and Mariamonica Perez. She has been everyone except Maria Rosario Pilar Martinez Molina Baeza, but only because Charo beat her to it.

V. insists she taped Sterling as part of a therapy for his “bipolar moments,” which is probably why she accepted several luxury cars and a $1.2 million home from the soon-to-be former NBA owner.

It’s not polite to look a gift racist in the mouth.

Sterling, on the other hand, can be forgiven for awarding V. with such generosity.

He reportedly thought he was dating Ke$ha.

▶ TMZ is the new Woodward and Bernstein.

OK, so maybe not that.

But it sure has gained a reputation for breaking major news.

Michael Jackson’s death. Mel Gibson’s arrest. Manti Te’o and his fake girlfriend. Now, V. Stiviano as Deep Throat.

You know, because of the tapes and all …

When it comes to new-age tabloid journalism, to employing reporters who work the telephones and streets 24/7, to having better relationships with paparazzi than anyone in Hollywood, to doing (paying) whatever it takes to get a story, TMZ is your runaway leader in the clubhouse.

Just don’t expect it to admit when it’s wrong on a story, because when TMZ swings and misses, it acts as if there was never a pitch.

▶ The happiest person in the world today is, for once, not Kate Upton’s boyfriend. Justin Verlander takes a backseat to all NFL owners.

If the second-most popular NBA franchise in a city can fetch $2 billion, what would a team from the nation’s most popular and powerful league demand?

Better yet, what would an NFL team based in Los Angeles be worth?

Jerry Jones has a team. It’s in Dallas. He also owns a fairly lavish stadium.

He is smiling today.

Even more than Verlander.

King was right. Sterling is a bad book, but there are lessons to be learned.

And if they can make a movie out of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” I would think the search for who will play Donald is already underway.

Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ed Graney can be reached at egraney@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4618. He can be heard from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday on “Gridlock,” ESPN 1100 and 98.9 FM. Follow him on Twitter: @edgraney.